‘Leave Jamaat, come to consensus’

REF:  Sheikh Hasina has asked the BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to give up terrorism and the Jamaat-e-Islami and work towards a dialogue for the next election.

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“I continually urged them to leave violent ways and work towards a political consesus. I again urge the leaders of the Opposition to leave violence, war criminals and terrorists,” she told reporters at Ganabhaban on Monday.


“We will discuss and reach a solution concerning the next election. For that everyone will have to be patient, tolerant and non-violent.”

The Prime Minister and Awami League president was speaking at a packed press conference that began at 4:30pm on Monday in the open field of Ganabhaban.

She had earlier briefed foreign journalists in the Ganabhaban’s conference room.

Hasina, on behalf of her government, party and the people, congratulated and thanked everyone after being re-elected to Parliament through the 10th National Election on Sunday.

The BNP-led 18-Party alliance boycotted Sunday’s election and tried its best to thwart it by resorting to intense violence, provoking retaliation by security forces.

Eighteen people were killed in separate incidents of violence across the country.

About the ongoing agitations against her government by the Opposititon, Hasina said, “They must stop the strikes that people no longer care about. They must stop killing people with Molotov cocktails.”

She urged BNP chief Khaleda Zia to stop the violence, saying it was the government’s foremost duty to safeguard people’s lives and livelihoods.

Awami League has won 104 of the 147 seats for which polling was held on Sunday. Having won 127 seats uncontested, the party has 231 seats, which gives it a clear three-fourth majority in the 10th parliament.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had said that a new election might be arranged if Awami League and BNP were able to reach a concensus.

The BNP-led 18-party alliance is enforcing a 48-hour strike on top of an ongoing indefinite blockade, demanding cancellation of the election.

The Opposition had been agitating for the election to be held under a caretaker government ever since the provision was scrapped from the Constitution.

Bangladesh went to polls without its main opposition, which tried to foil the election since its demand for a neutral poll-time government was not met.

“I am happy that people voted, whatever we got was enough,” said the Prime Minister, replying to journalists who pointed to low turnouts. People showed up at the centres despite Opposition’s resistance, she said.

People who believe in militancy were the ones who boycotted the polls, she added.

Meanwhile, BNP Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman ruled out possibilities of a dialogue while speaking at a press conference in London on Sunday, “It is certain that those who were elected through yesterday’s farcical election cannot be legal. What is the reason behind talking to something that is illegal?”

He directed the leaders and activists of his party to continue with their movement until the ‘final’ goal is reached.

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