Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday gave a pep-talk to her archrival Khaleda Zia, advising her to shun the path of violence and refrain from "sabotage, violence and killing people", amid deadly clashes between the supporters of ruling party and opposition.
In a nationally televised address on the first anniversary of the last general elections that put her Awami League and allies in power for a second consecutive term, Hasina advised Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief Zia to focus on rebuilding her party.
Last year's controversial polls were boycotted by the BNP, that describes the day as "Democracy Killing Day". It has since been pressing for a snap election.
"The path you're (Zia) walking will not usher in peace. You'll lose the people's support," she said.
Hasina, 67, and Zia, 69, are often referred to as the "battling begums" of Bangladesh.
Hasina said sitting out the polls was a "political mistake" of Zia.
"Why should the people pay for it?" she wondered.
Four BNP supporters were shot dead in street clashes with the ruling party activists today as Zia announced a nonstop blockade of highway, railways and waterways.
Hasina urged the BNP chief to refrain from "sabotage, violence and killing people".
"The people want security, peace and development," she added.
Hasina said the ex-premier herself was to be blamed for leading the BNP to its current state of disarray.
"Due to your wrong political decision you and your party is out of Jatiya Sangsad (parliament) today... Whom will you (Zia) blame for it? You yourself will have to blame yourself.
"Tell the people what you want to do for their socio- political development. Reorganise your party and only then you may have a chance (to form the government) in future," she said.
Hasina's scheduled address came in less than two hours after Zia called for the blockade as police barred her from leaving her besieged office to join a planned rally coinciding with the anniversary.
"We had told them (BNP) that we are ready to give concessions as much as possible within the constitutional framework but they paid no heed to our call" sticking to their demands for the unconstitutional caretaker government.