AL, BNP hold 3rd meeting

Leaders of ruling Awami League and main opposition BNP yesterday exchanged some proposals to end the ongoing political crisis over the 10th parliamentary polls.

BNP proposals include postponement of the January 5 election to keep the talks going and create level playing field, release of its leaders and withdrawal of cases against them, allowing the party to organise political activities at its central and unit offices and allowing it to hold rallies, said party sources present in the dialogue.
The BNP leaders said if the government took positive steps regarding the proposals, they would sit again to discuss the polls-time government, reforms in the Election Commission, and making the administration neutral.
In response, the AL side asked the opposition to stop its destructive programmes like hartal and blockade, give up the demand for caretaker government and accept the constitutional guidelines on the formation of polls-time government.
The party also proposed that the BNP sever relations with war criminals and Jamaat-e-Islami.
Both the sides have apprised their party chiefs about the dialogue proceedings.
AL General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam and BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhurl Islam Alamgir led their sides in the third round of dialogue held in presence of UN Resident Coordinator in Dhaka Neal Walker at a UN project office in Gulshan.
AL’s Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed and Gowher Rizvi, and BNP’s Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Abdul Moyeen Khan and Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury also attended yesterday’s dialogue.
AL and BNP sources, however, said they hardly see any chance of reaching a consensus by the two parties at this crucial stage when the deadline for candidacy withdrawal had expired.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rakibuddin Ahmad yesterday said the situation had become difficult to ensure participation of all political parties in the next general elections.
“But the possibility of a consensus will always remain alive. If everyone [politicians] reaches a consensus, they will be able to find a way,” he told reporters at the EC Secretariat in response to a query whether it would be possible for BNP to participate in the election as the deadline for nomination withdrawal had expired yesterday.
On Jatiya Party (JP) Chairman HM Ershad’s letter requesting him not to allocate the symbol “plough” to any other candidate, the CEC said, “We have directed all the returning officers about it and they will make the decision on this matter as per law.”
On Wednesday, citing that JP would not join the polls Ershad had requested the CEC not to allocate the party’s symbol “plough” to anyone.