Two major Bangla parties hold secret dialogue to end deadlock

Last Updated: Sunday, November 24, 2013 - 15:47

Dhaka: Bangladesh`s volatile politics on Sunday took an interesting turn as the ruling Awami League and main opposition BNP held a secretive meeting overnight amid a deadlock over upcoming polls.
Awami League general secretary and local government minister Syed Ashraful Islam held a 45-minute meeting with Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)`s secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Isam Alamgir at the residence of an opposition lawmaker, private TV channels and newspapers on their online versions reported at around midnight.
However, Alamgir denied the reports even as a number of sources on both sides of the political divide confirmed their meeting over the polls-time government system as they spoke to the media separately preferring anonymity.

"I am sorry. I cannot make you (journalists) happy. There was no meeting between us," Alamgir told newsmen laughing off the report as they approached him for comments.

However, a senior BNP leader later confirmed the reported meeting but said it ended without any major headway.

"I have also come to know that the meeting was held but there was no notable progress," the Daily Star quoted BNP`s highest policymaking standing committee member A S M Hannan Shah as saying.

Shah did not elaborate.

Awami League remained tight-lipped about the talks while Alamgir said the "rumour" was spread to "create confusion".

`Prothom Alo`, `Samokal` and most other newspapers today reported that after the talks with Islam, Alamgir went straight to BNP chief and ex-premier Khaleda Zia`s office, informed her about the talks and then appeared before the media to deny the report at midnight.

Despite the denial, mainstream media confirmed the meeting, with Dhaka Tribune reporting that Islam and Alamgir sat together last night.

The meeting came two days after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina suggested Alamgir to sit with his counterpart in the ruling party as she exchanged greetings with the BNP secretary general at an Armed Forces Day reception, which was not attended by Zia apparently to avoid the premier after their bitter 37-minute conversation over phone last month.

First Published: Sunday, November 24, 2013 - 15:47
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