The fairness of the general elections depends on what decision Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina takes, Left Democratic Alliance leader Mujahidul Islam Selim has said after talks with the Awami League.
The leftist leaders placed eight demands during the dialogue with Hasina and other leaders of the ruling 14-Party coalition at the Ganabhaban on Tuesday.
Their demands include dissolution of parliament before holding the elections with a nonpartisan government in power, reforms to the Election Commission, no use of electronic voting machines or EVMs, and withdrawal of cases started with political intentions.
“The ball is in the prime ministers court now. The nature of the election depends on her decisions, considerations,” Communist Party of Bangladesh or CPB President Selim said after the around two and a half hours of dialogue.
The leaders of the leftist alliance did not make it clear whether they will stay away from the election again like the CPB did in 2014.
“We are ready to join the elections. We are also ready for a boycott if the situation becomes unfavourable,” Selim said.
The blocs Coordinator Revolutionary Workers Party leader Saiful Haque said, “We want to contest in the elections. The government will fulfil our demands if they have the goodwill.”
Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader said they agreed on some points with the leftist politicians and disagreed on some others.
“Our leader listened to them and thanked them for expressing their dissent,” he said.
The leftist alliance team of 16 also included Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal or BaSaD General Secretary Khalequzzaman, Ganasanghati Andolan Chief Coordinator Zonayed Saki, and United Communist League General Secretary Moshrefa Mishu.
Hasina has already refused the key demands of the Oikya Front. The ruling party and its allies say they have no wish to change the constitution which allows Hasina to remain in power during the polls.
She is scheduled to sit with the OIkya Front leaders on Wednesday in a second round of talks. Quader said she will brief the nation about the outcome of the dialogue at a press conference on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Hasina held talks with a 52-strong delegation of a faction of the Islami Oikya Jote alliance.
Quader said the Islamist leaders told Hasina that they want to see her remain in power and offered cooperation.The demands of the leftist alliance are similar to those of the Jatiya Oikya Front led by Dr Kamal Hossain, of which the BNP is a component.