Sheikh Hasina rules out any possibility to hold dialogue with BNP
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that the media gives the BNP preference and not her party, the ruling Awami League.
“It is their good luck that the media favours them. I come in third, fourth or fifth in the news on television channels... BNP gets preference,” she told a press briefing at Ganabhaban, her official residence, in Dhaka on Sunday.
“They [BNP] are not in parliament, and not the main opposition party,” she said, adding that BNP still gets more priority than the current opposition party in the mass media.
HM Ershad-led Jatiya Party is the current main opposition in parliament with 39 seats.
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Hasina also said that the incarcerated BNP chairperson, Khaleda Zia, could only be released either by the court or the president if she seeks clemency.
“I have not arrested Khaleda Zia. It was not even a political arrest. She was arrested for embezzling the money meant for orphans. There is no way they [BNP] can blame us for the situation,” she said.
BNP chief Khaleda is currently serving five years in jail in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case, which was filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission. She was convicted on February 8.
Saying the graft case was not filed by her administration, the prime minister said: “If the government had interfered, then the trial would not have taken 10 years to finish.”
Hasina, who is also the chief of the ruling party, said no renowned lawyers or barristers were able to prove Khaleda innocent in the case and there was no point in blaming Awami League for that.
BNP leaders at a rally, marking the party’s 40th founding anniversary, in Naya Paltan on Saturday also demanded Khaleda’s release from jail before the announcement of the schedule of the upcoming national polls.
‘No talks with BNP’
The prime minister on Sunday also ruled out any possibility to hold dialogues with BNP, the arch-political rival of her party.
“I decided that no talks will be held with them since that day when I was sent back from the gate of Khaleda's Gulshan office when her son Arafat Rahman Coco died,” she said. “I do have some self-respect.”
On January 24, 2015, Hasina had gone to the BNP chief’s Gulshan office to console her after Coco died in Malaysia. But the prime minister was sent back from the gate as Khaleda had “fallen sick and was put to sleep by her doctors.”
Hasina on Sunday also said that only BNP knew whether it would participate in the 11th general election, scheduled to be held in the last week of December.
“It’s solely BNP’s decision. We are neither going to invite them nor stop them,” she added.