The BNP should change its stance of rejecting the election schedule, drop its demand for an election time caretaker government, and should contest the election instead, says Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader.
"Come, let’s contest a participatory election which is open for everyone. I urge the BNP to change its mind and take part in the election,” he said.
The general secretary, however, highlighted that the Awami League would remain firm on its rejection of the caretaker government.
“We don’t want to capture power. Rather we want to contest the election taking everyone on board, We want everyone to take part in the voting. But, there’s no option to do anything about the election beyond the purview of our constitution,” Quader said in a press briefing on Thursday, organised to share his reaction after the Election Commission announced the schedule for the polls.
Quader’s briefing took place amid a fifth round of a nationwide transport blockade called by the BNP and a half-day strike called by leftist opposition groups.
“You still have time. As the ruling party, we urge you to take part in the election. We won’t bar anyone. The election is open, even for those who hurl verbal abuse at us. We welcome everyone and never discourage them from taking part in the election,” the road transport and bridges minister said.
Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal encouraged all political parties to contest the election as he delivered his speech on Wednesday. He also pressed the two major political parties to engage in dialogue to bridge the gap between them.
Earlier, the United States suggested an unconditional dialogue between the three major political parties in Bangladesh. The Awami League and the BNP have not agreed to it.
"We prefer to have a dialogue. In 2018, the prime minister had two dialogues with the BNP. She made a phone call prior to the election in 2014. But Khaleda Zia abused her verbally. When Khaleda’s son died, the prime minister went to pay a visit but she wasn’t allowed to enter the house,” Obaidul Quader said.
“This time too, the president and the Election Commission called the BNP for a dialogue which they never responded to. Now the election schedule has been announced. There’s no time for dialogue.”