BNP skeptical about AL’s dialogue talk

Dhaka — The government’s proposal to end the political impasse through dialogues will not help, BNP Standing Committee Member Tariqul Islam said on Wednesday.“The government is trying to ease the existing political crisis by talking about dialogues. We want to make it clear that the crisis cannot be solved this way,” said Islam, while addressing a protest rally in front of BNP headquarters at Naya Paltan.
“The government has to amend the Constitution by accepting the demand for a neutral caretaker government,” he insisted. “They (the government) don’t have an alternative to not accept this demand (of caretaker government).”
Awami League General Secretary and LGRD minister Syed Ashraful Islam said on Monday that his government has offered a dialogue with the BNP to sort out political differences through discussion in the Parliament.
“The only way to reach a solution is through dialogues. No other alternative is available,” Ashraf had said.
Islam suggested that it would be better for the government to accept the opposition’s demand for caretaker system to oversee national elections.
Islam also castigated the government move to tighten control on private television channels by approving the draft of a new law.
“Tk 10 million has to be paid as guarantee money for a private television channel in accordance with the law. Politicians cannot apply for licence for television channel.”
He said the government, after letting a lot of its own people to open television channels, was preparing the law so that no one could secure licences in future.
This, he said, was an effort to hinder freedom of expression.
Speaking at another discussion party Standing Committee Member Rafiqul Islam Mia on Wednesday blamed the ruling Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina and her government for creating confusion by dropping hints of secret discussions.
“The government is trying to practice underground politics after destroying democracy,” he told the programme in front of the National Press Club.
Hinting at backroom negotiations between the ruling coalition and the Opposition alliance over the next general elections, Awami League General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam on Monday said: “It’s not that talks are not going on now. Dialogue is a continuous process in politics.”
BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia however ruled out ‘secret discussions’ on Tuesday. “We don’t believe in secret discussions. We think holding it is a crime.”
She also alleged the government was talking of secret discussions only to confuse people.
She also said her party will only negotiate if the Awami League-led coalition agrees to restore the caretaker arrangement for holding the parliament elections — and on modalities alone.
Rafiqul Islam Mia on Wednesday described the incumbent Election Commission was a ‘puppet’ of the government,alleging that it was seeking to make Deputy Commissioners (DCs) the returning officers for the polls on orders from the Prime Minister.
He also demanded release of his party Acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and said, ” Had they realy been ready for talks they would have freed Mirza Fakhrul by now.”

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