The prime minister's abrupt decision to hold off on sending an invitation requesting the opposition to enter into dialogue is ill-considered.
As the leader of the current government, the prime minister should encourage the idea of talks between the two parties.
As any first-year political science student knows, dialogue and participation is the key to a healthy, functioning democracy. It is disheartening that the PM and other party members seemed to have forgotten this.
The ruling party is doing their best to demoralise, denigrate and ultimately cow the opposition. The AL apparently reasons that sending out an invitation now would be seen as a "political defeat." In the AL's eyes, it would be a loss of face and a concession of political leverage.
While we understand the motivation to do all of this, especially leading up to the election, they seem to forget that, in the long run, this will weaken democracy in Bangladesh.
The idea that the ruling party seems to have missed is that extending this olive branch could theoretically have been a political coup in its favour. By showing that it is willing to enter into dialogue at this critical juncture, the ruling party would have shown that it has the nation's best interests at heart – a move guaranteed to win them points with the electorate.
This is not to say the opposition party is any better. They have so far squandered all the opportunities they have had to take the high road and work in the interests of the nation as a whole.
Our whole political system seems to have degenerated into a primitive show of strength to determine supremacy. It seems to have become about who can bare their teeth more aggressively and intimidate the other.
What the nation needs now is enlightened, far-sighted political leadership. Is there anyone who is up to the challenge?