BNP has held a meeting with Nagorik Oikya on Tuesday (24 May), formally kick-starting a dialogue with other opposition parties aimed at forging unity to launch a greater movement for restoration of democracy.
"We've started talks for waging a greater movement to restore democracy and people's lost rights, including the right to vote," BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told reporters after the meeting.
The meeting was held at the conference room of Bangladesh Shishu Kalyan Parishad building in the city's Topkhana Road.
He said the lost rights can be restored only by establishing "a true government and parliament of the people after ousting the current fascist regime."
"People of the country are expecting that the opposition parties will wage a fruitful and effective movement in unison and a change will come through it for establishing a government and parliament of people," the BNP leader said.
He said they will also talk to other political parties and they hope that they will be able to initiate a joint movement by ending the dialogue quickly. "We hope we can do it very soon."
Fakhrul said the main points of their discussion today were the restoration of democracy, establishing a polls-time neutral government based on the opinions of the political parties, reconstituting the Election Commission, forming a national government, release of Khaleda Zia and all other opposition leaders arrested in fictitious cases, withdrawal of those cases and stopping repression on opposition leaders and activists.
"We held an effective discussion in a cordial environment. We hope our talks with other parties will also be fruitful and we'll be able to present a movement programme very soon," he said.
Fakhrul along with BNP leaders Abdus Salam and Jahiruddin Swapan came to Nagorik Oikya's office around 5pm and had one and a half hours of discussion with Mahmudur Rahman Manna and his party's senior leaders.
Nagorik Oikya convener Manna said they discussed the basic issues of waging a movement. "All opposition parties in the country are saying that a fair, good, acceptable election can't be held under the current government."
On this basis, he said they will continue a movement until achieving victory for establishing a neutral government to hold a credible national election. "We are considering this meeting as a step towards launching a greater movement."
Earlier in the day, Fakhrul announced to start the dialogue at a press conference at the party chairperson's Gulshan office.
The BNP leader said their party's standing committee took the decision at its virtual meeting on Monday (23 May) night.
He said they will talk to the political parties and finalise the outline of a united movement through the discussions.
The BNP leader said they will sit with other opposition parties in phases.
Asked whether they will hold a discussion with Jamaat-e-Islami, Fakhrul said they want to talk to every party, including Jamaat.
Replying to another question about the existence of the 20-party alliance, it has not been abolished yet. "We'll finalise the future course of the alliance through the talks."
Responding to a question, he said they are not going to call their new political platform an alliance. "The format will be finalised through discussions."