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Blockade, hartal progs may end

BNP plans new line of action?

By UNB, DHAKA
17th-Mar-2015       
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As their blockade and hartal programmes have apparently turned out futile earning a bad name due to widespread violence, the BNP-led 20-party alliance is now looking for peaceful action programmes to mount pressure on the government to engage in talks for resolving the ongoing crisis.
Senior BNP leaders said they have a plan to withdraw the ongoing  blockade or stop calling hartal further if they see any visible  efforts from the government side to sit in talks with them over the  political deadlock.
They said, foreign envoys, mainly western ones, stationed in Dhaka and  some pro-BNP intellectuals suggested the party high command to  replace their violent action programmes with peaceful ones to give  
the government a "space" for holding dialogue.
The BNP leaders said party chairperson Khaleda Zia at her press  conference on Friday manifested the party's softened stance on the movement placing some easy conditions for creating a good ground for meaningful talks.
They claimed that if the Prime Minister softens her stance on holding talks with, the party will stop calling hartal and withdrew the non-stop transport blockade after getting any assurance from her of reaching a compromise over snap polls.
"If the government thinks our softened stance as our weakness and doesn't take any initiative for overcoming the crisis, we'll again hit the streets," a BNP leader close to Khaleda told UNB preferring not to be named.
He also claimed that Khaleda is likely to retreat from her earlier rigid stance on overseeing the national election under a non-party neutral administration if the government becomes sincere to hold a fresh election.
The BNP leader also said their party chairperson at her recent meeting with some Western country's diplomats gave a message that she will go to election if it is not held under Sheikh Hasina.
"We've long been urging the government to resolve the ongoing crisis through talks. We still believe if the government takes effective steps the political deadlock will be over.
Our chairperson Khaleda Zia at her Friday's press conference made our position clear that we seek an amicable solution to the crisis through discussion," said BNP standing committee member Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman.
He said, their party will surely take a positive decision on the ongoing programmes of their movement if the government creates a congenial atmosphere for talks with good intention.
"Our chairperson has reiterated her call for a dialogue as she is sincere about resolving the ongoing political impasses. What else can we do now? We can't alone resolve the crisis the government has created through holding lopsided polls. The key to the solution of the crisis is now in government's hands and they must act positively."
Expressing his sympathy for people for their sufferings caused by the movement, the BNP leader said they have no option to retreat from their ongoing movement for the sake of democracy and ensuring people' s voting and basic rights. He, however, thinks that a new dimension needs to be brought in the movement excluding some current line of actions and including new ones.
Another BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan said, "We don' t want to take to the streets as we want a peaceful solution to the current political crisis. But, the government is not taking any step to put an end to the deadlock."He said their chairperson once again made her position clear through her Friday's press conference that she is very sincere to have a peaceful solution to the crisis through talks. "It's now responsibility of the government to respond positively to restore normalcy and peace in the country."

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