BNP rejects Hasina’s offer of talks over tea, demands caretaker govt

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The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has refused Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s offer to hold talks over tea, saying that the latter must first accept a caretaker government system.

“Small talk over tea won’t be useful without a caretaker government,” BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said and called for unity among the country’s opposition parties to overthrow the Hasina-led government through a movement.

Alamgir made the remarks at an event organised Association of Engineers, Bangladesh, a day after the premier said that BNP leaders were free to demonstrate outside her office.

Hasina also said she would offer them tea and listen to what they had to say, but warned that her government will not allow violence, as the BNP had threatened to stage a boycott of the next general election if the ruling Awami League oversees the ballot.

“You (Hasina) must announce first that you’ll accept the caretaker government system. Then we’ll have no problem in joining you for tea,” Alamgir further said on Sunday.

“We have only one thing to say: step down, hand over power to a non-partisan government, form a new Election Commission and hold an acceptable and inclusive election to bring the country back to its original course so that we can truly move forward,” he added.

Addressing the event, the BNP leader said power cuts in the rural areas will cause the production of rice to decrease and finally affect food security.

“A fertiliser crisis is looming. This will make (the government’s) fall inevitable.”

Alamgir blamed corruption and a lack of accountability for the situation that has forced the government to bring back rolling power cuts amid a global shortage of fuel due to the Russia-Ukraine war.

He also criticised the government for giving immunity to quick rental and rental power plants from prosecution.

“How can you expect there will be no corruption if you already declare indemnity?” he asked.

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