As the opposition combine has announced yet another 84-hour national blockade from Saturday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave a clear hint that a fresh election would be held after dissolving the new parliament.
But Ms. Hasina, who is facing a violent opposition-sponsored agitation for several weeks, put forward two conditions for fresh elections — the BNP must shun violence and sever ties with the Jamaat-e-Islami.
She cleared her position saying that Parliament would dissolve and fresh elections will be held “if we reach a settlement through negotiations.” “If we reach a consensus through talks and if she [Khaleda] stops hartal, blockade and repression, then after this election we will hold another after dissolving parliament.”
Over 100 people have died since November 25 when the BNP-Jamaat-e-Islami-led rightist and Islamist combine resorted to violent campaign to foil the election roadmap.
The ruling Awami League chief firmly stated that the next general elections would be held on January 5 as mandated by the constitution. She, however, did not give up on hopes of reconciliation but said simultaneously the Opposition must stop clamping violent shutdowns, blockades and killing innocent people.
As the two leading political alliances failed to arrive at an agreement over the form of polls-time government, many foreign quarters, including the U.N., pushed for talks but without any tangible outcome. Hasina, however, said talks with the opposition would continue “even after the general elections.”
While addressing a joint meeting of the ruling Awami League’s Central Working Committee and advisory council on Thursday evening, Ms. Hasina said, “She [Khaleda Zia] has missed the train. “
Ms. Hasina also alleged that main purpose behind the polls boycott by Khaleda Zia’s party was “to protect the war criminals” creating a unstable situation . “The BNP is not joining the election as (the Jamaat-e-Islami) is unable to take part in it,” said the Prime Minister, adding the BNP’s main strength is now the Jamaat, not the party’s followers.
On Thursday, the activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and its students wing Islami Chatra Shibir, allegedly attacked an election meeting of the Awami League in northern in Lalmonirhat injuring 30 people. The attackers set fire to the campaign stage and at least 40 motorcycles of the ruling party campaigners.
National newspapers said many Hindu families and ruling partymen fled from Patgram upazila of Lalmonirhat facing repeated threats by Jamaat-Shibir activists. On Monday, unidentified miscreants vandalised a temple in Patgram, known as a den of Jamaat-Shibir activists.