BNP rejects Hasina’s offer of dialogue, sticks to caretaker demand

Hasina said she was ready to talk to the BNP leaders

Published : 24 July 2022, 03:10 PM
Updated : 24 July 2022, 07:11 PM

The BNP has said it will sit with Sheikh Hasina for talks only if she steps down as prime minister and allows a caretaker government to oversee the next general election.

Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir renewed the demand for a non-partisan election-time administration at a discussion in Dhaka on Sunday, a day after Hasina said BNP leaders were free to demonstrate outside her office.

She also said she would offer them tea and listen to what they had to say, but warned that her government will not allow violence, as the opposition party threatened to stage a boycott of the next general election if the Awami League oversees the ballot.

“You [Hasina] must announce first that you’ll accept the caretaker government system. Then we’ll have no problem in joining you for tea,” Mirza Fakhrul said.

“Small talk about tea won’t be useful without the caretaker government,” he said, calling for unity among the opposition parties to overthrow the Hasina government through a movement.

“We've only one thing to say: step down, hand over power to a non-partisan government, form a new Election Commission and hold an acceptable and inclusive election to bring the country back to its original course so that we can truly move forward.”

The Association of Engineers, Bangladesh organised the event on “plunders in the power and energy sector”.

Mirza Fakhrul blamed corruption and a lack of accountability for the situation that has forced the government to bring back rolling power cuts amid a global shortage of fuel due to the Russia-Ukraine war.

“And the government did not take steps to extract our gas, which has led to this electricity crisis. In the past 15 years, they prioritised only one thing: how to loot and smuggle tens of millions of taka.”

Mirza Fakhrul criticised the government for giving immunity to quick rental and rental power plants from prosecution. “How can you expect there will be no corruption if you already declare indemnity?” he asked.

The BNP leader said power cuts in the rural areas will cause the production of rice to decrease and finally affect food security.

“A fertiliser crisis is looming. This will make [the government’s] fall inevitable.”

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher