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No govt move for dialogue in sight

Mustafizur Rahman

The ruling Awami League appears to be unwilling to initiate any fresh move for holding dialogue with its archrival Bangladesh Nationalist Party for an inclusive election as the AL-led coalition government has already completed one month in office. 
The government is rather going ahead with a five-year routine plan focusing more on issues relating to ‘good governance’ and development in various sectors taking into consideration its previous lapses after assuming office through the one-sided January 5 national polls.  
‘We are not inviting them to dialogue afresh. The prime minister called the BNP chairperson on telephone for a dialogue before the elections and that invitation is still in effect,’ commerce minister Tofail Ahmed said on Sunday.
The senior AL leader told New Age that the dialogue would now depend on the BNP’s initiatives.
The AL-led government appears to be reluctant to sit with BNP for negotiations despite pressure from various quarters at home and abroad although it had said that the January 5 election was a constitutional obligation.
‘They must renounce the politics of violence, sever ties with terrorist organisations and accept the incumbent government,’ Tofail mentioned as conditions for an effective discussion with the BNP. 
‘The dialogue will not bring any results if they do not recognise the government at the outset. We did not have any other alternative to the January 5 elections’.
The veteran politician said the government of Sheikh Hasina was elected for a five-year term and it was now focusing more on good governance and development in various sectors, including rural economy.
Replying to a question, Tofail said he did not see any possibility of an ‘early election.’
The BNP has termed the January 5 elections ‘farcical’ and the AL-led coalition government ‘illegal’. Demanding fresh polls under a non-party caretaker administration, it has also called on the government for initiating a dialogue to reach a consensus over the issue. 
‘It is the responsibility of the ruling Awami League to initiate a fresh move for a dialogue to resolve the crisis which has also drawn the attention of the international community,’ BNP standing committee member Mahbubur Rahman said.
He told New Age that those who did not want any discussion to overcome the stalemate were against democracy. ‘It is not wise being boastful while standing on quicksand.’
 In his address at the first session of the 10th parliament, president Abdul Hamid on January 29 appealed to the parties that had boycotted the January 5 polls to help democracy flourish through dialogue with the government.
 The controversial 10th Jatiya Sangsad began its session with the Jatiya Party in the opposition while sharing power in the government and major political parties staying out.
A 49-member new cabinet comprising 29 ministers, 17 state ministers and two deputy ministers took oath of office before the expiry of the 9th parliament on January 24 amidst confusions over whether the constitution allowed it.  

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