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Hasina hints at mid-term polls for 11th parliament

Staff Correspondent

The p[rime minister, Sheikh Hasina, on Thursday said that the leader of the opposition in the parliament, Khaleda Zia, had missed the 10th parliamentary elections but hinted at mid-term polls for the 11th parliament if any understanding could be reached through current negotiations with the BNP.
‘We will hold elections again by dissolving the parliament if a consensus could be reached… But Khaleda Zia must stop enforcing general strikes, blockades and killing people,’ she said at a meeting of her party’s election steering committee at Ganabhaban.
Hasina said that the discussion with the BNP was on and it would continue after the general elections, scheduled for January 5, which would be held in keeping with the constitution.
‘We have repeatedly said that the 10th parliamentary elections will be held in a free, fair and neutral manner with transparent ballot boxes as other elections were held in the past five years. But she did not participate in this election and she missed the train,’ Hasina said.
Hasina, also the Awami League president, spoke about her efforts such as  her phone call to Khaleda Zia, talks between general secretaries and delegations of both the parties under a UN mediation so that the BNP joined the polls.
‘Despite all these efforts, she [Khaleda] did not join the elections,’ Hasina said, adding that she had done all this for the sake of democracy and to hold a participatory election.
Hasina gave a warning that if the BNP and Jamaat did not stop killing people and enforcing blockades, she would go for tougher action to ensure the security of people and their property.
‘There is a limit to patience towards chaos. But if you [BNP and Jamaat] continue to create a chaos, we will not tolerate it,’ she said.
The prime minister gave a clarification on party candidates being elected unopposed for 154 constituencies saying said that her party hoped that the BNP would join the polls and accordingly the party shared the seats with partners in its alliance and gave party nominations.
‘As the BNP did not join the polls, they [party candidates] have been elected unopposed,’ she said adding that Khaleda could have said that she would not join the polls without the Jamaat-e-Islami.
Hasina claimed that the BNP along with Jamaat and Shibir were trying to foil the elections, scheduled for January 5, by creating a chaos. But the election will be held on time however hard they try to foil it,’ she said.
The prime minister criticised green campaigners for keeping silent about the felling of thousands of trees by Jamaat and Shibir activists and said that they could raise their voice against the Rampal power plant but they they could not raise their voice against the felling of trees.
She condemned the resolution that Pakistan’s national assembly adopted ‘condemning the execution of Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Molla’ and the ‘interference of Pakistan in the affairs of independent Bangladesh.’
‘The main strength of the BNP is anti-liberation force Jamaat and Shibir. Along with them, the BNP has declared a war against ordinary people and the progress we have achieved by doing massive development works,’ she said.
Hasina said that the BNP chairperson did not want the trial of her husband’s murder although the Awami League raised the demand when it was in opposition.
‘The woman who does not want the trial of her husband’s killers would also not want the trial of war criminals. And for this, she [Khaleda] keeps opposing the trial of war criminals,’ she said.
The Awami League’s office secretary Abdus Sobhan Golap told New Age that the election steering committee at the meeting discussed the election tour of Hasina and the party’s election manifesto.
‘The election steering committee and the party’s executive committee members will sit on Friday at the party chief’s office at Dhanmondi for approval of the election manifesto and deciding the schedule the party chief’s election tour,’ he said.

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