Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina hosts a dialogue with a delegation of Jatiya Oikyafront led by Dr Kamal Hossain at Ganobhaban on Thursday. Photo: PMO

Welcoming the Oikyafront delegation to the much-hyped dialogue, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said, “Ganobhaban is the people’s Bhaban and all are welcome here.”

“We all want a credible and participatory election for continuation of the democratic process.”

“Overcoming all odds and obstacles, we are here today on a development highway.  Bangladesh will certainly be a developed nation much before its stipulated timeframe”, the Premier said with firm conviction.

“We will have to work unitedly to build a developed and prosperous country for our posterity”, she added while addressing the BNP-led Oikyafront delegates at her Ganobhaban residence.

Hasina said her government’s main aim is to change the fate of countrymen and take the country forward.

“We have been in power for about nine years and ten months. And you (delegation members) will judge what my government has done during this period. I can say the common people of the country are now in good conditions,” she added.

“I had introduced the change. And the change is now taking place imbued with spirit of Liberation War.”

During the dialogue, Oikyafront leaders also had dinner. The menu was served as per the desire of the guests, especially for Dr Kamal Hossain.

Earlier, the delegation of Oikyafront led by Dr Kamal Hossain arrived at Ganobhaban in time and Awami League senior leaders welcomed them.

Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina led a 23-member delegation of the ruling alliance while a 21-member Oikyafront delegation was led by Dr Kamal Hossain.

Before taking part in the dialogue, Oikyafront leaders met to decide topics of discussion with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Dr Kamal Hossain’s house at 4:00pm.

The alliance held the dialogue with the Awami League-led alliance based on their seven-point demand.

Responding to the newly formed Jatiya Oikyafront’s call for dialogue over the next national election, Sheikh Hasina formally invited the alliance to take part in talks with ruling alliance at Gono Bhaban at 7pm on Thursday.

The issue of dialogue surfaced when Dr Kamal, president of Ganoforum – a key component of the Oikyafront, wrote to the prime minister on October 28 asking for dialogue.

The Jatiya Oikyafront has already announced a seven-point demand for holding the next parliament election in a participatory manner.

Awami League on Tuesday also invited Bikalpadhara Bangladesh of Dr AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury to a dialogue on November 2 over the next general election.

Earlier, Bikalpa Dhara sent two letters to Awami League, requesting the party to take initiative for a dialogue.

Bikalpadhara leaders Abdur Rouf Mannan and Omar Faruq handed over the letters to the Awami League president and the general secretary in the evening.

Awami League joint general secretary Abdur Rahman received the letters.  In a latest development, Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad on Wednesday also sent a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina saying that he would like to sit with her before the upcoming 11th national elections.

The JP chief, in the letter, further said he wants leaders of United National Alliance to also join the talks with the PM, Sunil Shubho Roy, political and press secretary of HM Ershad, told journalists. Jatiya Party is a component of the United National Alliance which is comprised of 58 political parties.

The letter was handed over to the Prime Minister’s Office by Sunil Shubho Roy on Wednesday.

On October 13, the BNP, Ganoforum led by Dr Kamal, JSD by Rab, Nagorik Oikya by Manna and Forward Party formed the alliance and named it Oikyafront.