‘No special move for BNP’s election participation’: Prime Minister

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Dhaka, December 07: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today ruled out possibilities of any special initiative on her part to ensure BNP’s polls participation unlike the past saying the 2018 polls would be held as parliamentary democracy is practiced in other countries.

“I’m not going to pour butter in an improper saucepan . . . (but) the election will not wait for the absentees (either),” she told at a press conference at her Gonobhaban residence, BSS reported.

Sheikh Hasina added a particular political party would have to decide if it would contest the polls but “I don’t think that BNP will repeat the mistake it did in 2014”.

The premier made the comments responding to repeated queries by newsmen on the issue when she also reminded all the “utter misconduct and humiliation” she faced from the BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia ahead of the 2014 elections as she tried to reach her out.

The premier called press conference to explain the background and outcome of just concluded Cambodia visit but issues related to elections, Rohingya crisis, corruption charges against the BNP chief and her family virtually dominated the presser.

Sheikh Hasina, however, highlighted the achievements of her three-day Cambodia visit and future plan of the government to strengthen ties with Phnom Penh in different fields in a written statement at the beginning of the press conference.

Replying to a question the prime minister also ruled out possibilities of early elections saying that “the country is not in any crisis for which it should go for snap poll”.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday hoped that her recent Cambodia tour will play a very significant role in deepening the ties and cooperation between the two friendly countries.

Sheikh Hasina also said Cambodia is one of the most-friendly nations among the South-East Asian countries, and a historical, religious, cultural and linguistic close relation is prevailing there between the two nations from the ancient time.

She mentioned that the two countries experienced genocide and war crimes against humanity and stood up with their heads high before the world community.

Hasina recalled that the relation between the two countries began its journey after the meeting of Bangabandhu with late King of Cambodia Norodom Sihanouk at the NAM summit in Algiers held in 1973.

Hasina said there are similarities in socio-economic development of the two countries and both the nations reached closer to becoming middle-income states.

That is why, she hoped, Bangladesh and Cambodia will both benefit through effective cooperation between the two sides.

About the formal bilateral meeting between the two sides, the Prime Minister said it was held at the Peace Palace, the office of the Cambodian Prime Minister in which the two Prime Ministers led their respective sides.

Hasina said the entire gamut of bilateral issues, including issues on further enhancing trade and investment, cooperation on agriculture, fisheries, Civil Aviation, ICT, labour and vocational training, aquaculture and tourism came up for discussions at the meeting.

She said both sides decided to hold the first foreign ministerial-level meeting on Joint Commission in the first half of next year aiming to deepen diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Besides, the two countries agreed to hold the first meeting of the Joint Trade Council next year to infuse dynamism into their trade ties, she added.

At the meeting, Sheikh Hasina said, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen proposed holding a Foreign Ministry-level review meeting on regular basis.