The BNP will officially respond on Saturday to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s proposal for an all-party interim government to conduct the forthcoming parliamentary polls.
Acting Secretary General Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Friday told journalists: “We are assessing the Prime Minister’s proposal. We will give our reaction on Saturday.”
He said senior leaders of the opposition will discuss the proposal. “Then we’ll be able to brief the media about our position.”
Mirza Fakhrul’s response to query from was apparently pessimistic because speaking on the issue of election-time government he questioned the sincerity of the Prime Minister about the holding of dialogue.
The invitation to nominate opposition MPs to take part in the interim government falls short of the opposition demand for dissolution of Parliament and resignation of the government before the holding of the next elections.
Mirza Fakhrul has taken time to speak on the issue clearly weighing the importance of giving opinion on the issue. Clearly he did not want to take chance and not speak without being properly briefed, because at stake is the political stand of his party and the alliance it leads.
Meanwhile, high-ranking BNP leaders have said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in her address to the nation last night showed a degree of flexibility on her previously taken position on an election-time government.
In an instant reaction soon after her televised address, they however, strongly felt that the prime minister did not go far enough and that she needs to move “one step forward” on the poll-time government issue to resolve the ongoing political stalemate.
Some BNP stalwarts categorically said that there was nothing new in the speech of Sheikh Hasina as she totally ignored the opposition demand for restoration of a non-party and neutral caretaker government to oversee the next general elections.
The BNP leaders said that their party’s Standing Committee would meet Saturday evening at BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office to review in detail the speech of the prime minister and only then the party would come up with a formal reaction to it.
In his personal reaction, BNP Standing Committee member Brig Gen (Retd) ASM Hannan Shah said the proposal of the prime minister to form an all-party interim government reflected a shift in her previously held position. “Now, she needs to move one step forward to hold a free and fair election in the country.”
Another senior Standing Committee member of the party preferring anonymity said the speech of the prime minister fell far short of a promise to reach an understanding with the opposition to negotiate with it for setting up a poll-time government as demanded by the latter for long.
In this connection, he said, “The scope of reaching an understanding with the opposition would be much greater if the prime minister spelt out in her Friday night’s speech that she would stay away from the poll-time government and put a neutral person as its head.”