Amid growing national tension fearing fresh political violence, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has made it clear that the current session of the present Parliament would stretch beyond October 24, while the opposition has termed the decision beyond constitutional mandate.

She has also said the government will deal with an iron fist if opposition parties try to create violence and chaos on the issue. Her comments come as both the ruling and opposition parties plan to hold “massive rallies” in Dhaka on October 25 on the issue .

Khaleda Zia, leader of the main opposition party Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), who has already threatened the government with “consequences” if Parliament continues beyond October 24, has already asked her party men to assemble in Dhaka on October 25 to force the government to quit. BNP has also called for “all out resistance” alleging that the ruling Awami League plans to hold a “unilateral poll”.

“No Constitutional bar”

Addressing a crucial meeting of the ruling Awami League’s Central Working Committee on Sunday, Ms. Hasina claimed that there was “no Constitutional bar” to continuing the present session of Parliament beyond October 24. She also made it clear that the present government will start functioning as an “interim government” on October 25 to oversee the next parliamentary polls, to be held, under 15th Amendment to the Constitution, 2011, between October 25 and January 24.

Calls from U.N. and civil society to the two parties to find a negotiated settlement have gone unheeded so far.