"We want to give the government some space, opportunities so the deadlock could be resolved on the discussion table through a dialogue," BNP's standing committee member Mahbubur Rahman told newsmen ahead of the rally at Suhrawardy here.

He added that Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief Khaleda Zia, who was expected to address the rally, was unlikely to announce any fresh street protest as ‘programmes like shutdowns and blockades cause huge public sufferings’.

Police granted permission to BNP on Monday night to stage the rally at Suhrawardy, where Zia during her last address on October 25 issued a 48-hour ultimatum to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to realize the Opposition's demand for holding the election under a non-party caretaker government amid heightened political tensions.

By allowing the BNP to hold a rally, the government has proved its sincerity to create a congenial atmosphere for a dialogue, Communications Minister Obaidul Quader said.

"The government is trying to create a favourable environment. As part of its endeavour, the government has allowed the BNP to hold a rally at the Suhrawardy Udyan on Monday and is not preventing from carrying out any political activities either.

"All these indicate the way towards a consensus," he said.

Another standing committee member of BNP Oslam Faruq said Monday's rally was part of a series of ‘peaceful’ programmes to achieve ‘a sustainable and stable political atmosphere in the country’.

Zia had called for identical rallies across Bangladesh coinciding with the birth anniversary of her husband, BNP founder and slain president Ziaur Rahman to ‘thank people for boycotting’ the polls.

BNP is staging the rally under its own banner although it earlier announced the programme as an initiative of BNP-led 18-party alliance with fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami as its key-partner.

Zia last week urged her archrival Hasina to take fresh initiatives for talks to end the existing deadlock, saying the ‘farcical’ January 5 polls installed an ‘illegitimate’ government.

"We (BNP) were never opposed to talks and still now dialogue is the only way to end the deadlock," she said.


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