B`desh PM asks BNP chief Zia to `shut up` and negotiate

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 22:46

Dhaka: Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday asked her arch rival BNP chief Khaleda Zia to "shut up" even as she signalled her willingness to start a dialogue to end months of political unrest.

 "You could not resist the elections. You`ll not be able to do anything. Better keep your mouth shut," Hasina said.

 The general election in Bangladesh were boycotted by the 18-party opposition alliance led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

Hasina-led Awami League easily won Sunday`s election, which was marred by street fighting and low turnout.

 Over 30 people have died in post-poll clashes with opposition cadres setting over 200 polling stations on fire.

 Hasina said yesterday that her first priority is to contain the violence with an "iron hand." Responding to widespread criticism of Sunday`s polls, she said turnout was more than what many developed countries see.

The Election Commission earlier said the voter turnout was 40 per cent.

 The Awami League chief once again urged Zia to sever ties with the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami and asked her to strike a deal on the next elections.

 The BNP, led by former prime minister Zia, boycotted the polls after her arch-rival Hasina rejected the opposition`s demand for a neutral caretaker regime for election oversight.

 Political violence during strikes enforced by the opposition since November have left over 160 people dead.

PTI

First Published: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 22:46

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