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BNP sees no signs of consensus even after UN intervention

Rashed Ahmed Mitul

The apparent failure of the UN-brokered negotiations between the ruling and opposition camps to make a breakthrough in the crisis over the next general elections has left leaders and activists of Bangladesh Nationalist Party frustrated.
UN assistant secretary general Oscar Fernandez-Taranco who came to Dhaka on December 6 as a special envoy of UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, carried out hectic efforts shuttling between the top and senior leaders of the Awami League and BNP during his six-day stay in Bangladesh to have the two parties reach a consensus over a polls-time government.
Taranco left Dhaka on Wednesday leaving his mission inconclusive.
‘I do not see any changes in the situation. After the departure of Taranco the parties [AL and BNP] stand their respective ground,’ BNP standing committee member Mahbubur Rahman told New Age on Thursday when was approached for comments on the outcome of the Taranco mission and the meetings between AL and and BNP in his presence.
Mahbub said minimum confidence was not built in the two parties following the UN intervention.
He said it was not possible to solve the problem by forcing the rival camps to sit across the table for discussion. It produced nothing tangible, he added.
Mahbub, also former army chief, said the schedules for the 10th parliamentary polls slated for January 5 had not yet been changed and the election process was on.
He said he did not see any hope for a consensus between the ruling and opposition parties.
The BNP standing committee member, however, welcomed the initiatives of the United Nations to have the rival political camps in Bangladesh strike a consensus.
‘I do not see it that way’, said BNP chairperson’s advisory council member Ahmad Azam Khan when his comments were sought on Taranco’s statement that bringing the ruling and opposition parties to discussion was an achievement. ‘It could not be seen as a major achievement’.
He said on the night Tarnaco left Bangladesh the prime minister had told her party leaders that the election would be held on January 5.
He blamed the government and top leaders of the ruling party for the dialogue’s not being meaningful.
Azam said he did not see any signs for a consensus through dialogue. The issue would be decided in the street, he added.
Some mid-level and junior leaders of BNP and its front and associate organisations expressed their disappointment as the Taranco mission could not yield any concrete results.
During his six-day visit, Fernandez-Taranco, held a series of meetings with different political parties, particularly with senior leaders of Awami League and BNP, Chief Election Commissioner and members of the civil society.
He met with prime minister Sheikh Hasina and had meetings twice with BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, also leader of the opposition in parliament.
Following his intervention, a four-member delegation of AL led by its general secretary Syed Ashraful Islam and a four-member delegation of BNP led by acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday had a meeting at the residence of UN resident representative in Dhaka in presence of Taranco where the both sides agreed to continue discussions over a polls-time government for holding a free, fair and inclusive election.
The same delegations of AL and BNP had another round of meeting in presence of Taranco on Wednesday.
Fernandez-Taranco before wrapping up his visit at a news briefing on Wednesday claimed that bringing the two rival political parties, AL and BNP, across the table was an ‘achievement’.

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