Apparently turning down Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s offer to have a dialogue over the current political crisis on Monday, BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia on Saturday said she would sit with her after the end of their scheduled hartal programme.
“I won’t be able to go on Monday as there’s a hartal programme. If you (Hasina) accept in principle the demand for holding the next general election under a non-party government, then we agree to sit for a dialogue postponing our all programmes,” said Maruf Kamal Khan Sohel quoting Khaleda Zia as saying.
Briefing reporters, Khaleda’s press secretary Sohel quoted the BNP chairperson further as saying, “If you (Hasina) invite me for dinner after the hartal programme, I agree to join you along with my colleagues and alliance leaders.”
In the telephone talks, Hasina invited Khaleda for a political dialogue at Ganobhaban followed by dinner on Monday. About the PM’s request to withdraw three-day hartal, Khaleda Zia told Hasina, “It’s not possible right now…It’s a scheduled programme. I’ve taken the decision after consultation with the alliance leaders. Had you (Hasina) indicated it yesterday (Friday), we could have taken a decision in this regard. Besides, police have resorted to oppression on leaders and activists on the eve of hartal.”
When Sheikh Hasina recalled past events, the BNP chief said, “Please give up thinking backward. We want to go forward through a new type of politics. If you (Hasina) blame the opposition looking at the past, the atmosphere of the discussion would be marred and we wouldn’t able to march forward.”
Khaleda also urged the Prime Minister to work together to reach an acceptable solution through discussion. “We had worked also in the past. We would able to reflect the nation’s hopes if we leave political bitterness,” he said. About the premier’s version that she (Hasina) repeatedly tried to reach Khaleda over red phone, the opposition leader said, “It was a dead phone. If you’re sincere to contact me, you could have reached me through any other means at this modern age. – UNB