Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has held dialogue with the leaders of the Jatiya Oikyafront for 3 and a half hours.

The Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader called the dialogue successful. BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam did not agree to talk to the media after the dialogue. But he said they were not satisfied with the dialogue. However, Goyeshwar Chandra Roy, a standing committee member of BNP who was listed to attend the dialogue, remained unreachable.

Jatiya Oikyafront leaders took part on the basis of their 7-point demand in the dialogue. The main demand the Oikya Front placed in the talks was the release of imprisoned politicians, including BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, and disbanding of parliament before the general elections to be supervised by an impartial government. Their other demands include lifting barriers to political programmes, reforming the EC through talks with all the political parties, deployment of the military with magistracy during the election, removal of cases ongoing against politicians and students during recent movement and no use of EVMs in the elections.

The dialogue started at 7pm on Thursday at Ganabhaban, where 23 leaders from Awami League led by Prime Minister and Awami League Leader Sheikh Hasina, and 21 leaders from Jatiya Oikyafront led by Dr Kamal Hossain.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina exchanged greetings with a cordial welcome, “Today you have come to Ganobhaban, the people’s house”. She said that she was working for socioeconomic development of Bangladesh and for continuation of democracy which we earned following a long struggle. “Today’s discussions will continue to contribute enormously to the continuation of Bangladesh’s development” she added.

She said in her introductory speech that her government has been in power for 9 years and 10 months. The process of the development she started has resulted in the positive changes, and this is a reality. It has to move forward. She also stated, “If I am controversial, then who is impartial”. Dr Kamal Hossain instantaneously gave his consent to her statement.

Apart from Prime Minister, there were 22 senior politicians from Awami League, among them the General Secretary Obaidul Quader, Advisers Amir Hossain Amu and Tofail Ahmed, Presidium Members Matia Chowdhury, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, Mohammad Nasim, Kazi Zafar Ullah, Mohammad Abdur Razzaq, Abdul Matin Khasru, Sri Ramesh Chandra Sen. Dipu Moni, Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Abdur Rahman and Joint General Secretaries Mahbubul Alam Hanif attended the dialogue.

Prime Minister’s Special Assistant Abdus Sobhan Golap, Publication and Publicity Secretary Hasan Mahmud, along with S M Rezaul Karim, Law Minister Anisul Huq and leaders of the 14-party alliance Rashed Khan Menon, Hasanul Haq Inu, Dilip Barua, and Mainuddin Khan Badol also attended the meeting.

The attending BNP leaders were Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Jamiruddin Sircar, Mirza Abbas and standing committee member Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan.

The other coalition leaders who joined the talks are Mahmudur Rahman Manna and SM Akram of Nagorik Oikya, Mostofa Mohsin Montu and Subrata Chowdhury of Gono Forum, Abdul Malek Ratan and Tania Rab of JSD-Rab, Sultan Md Monsur and ABM Mostofa Amin of Oikya Prokriya, Gonoshashthaya Kendra Founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, and Gono Forum presidium members Mokabbir Khan, Jaglul Haider Afrik and AHM Shafiq Ullah.

Bikalpa Dhara, JP leaders and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will sit in dialogue on November 2 and 5 respectively at Ganobhaban.