Ball in dissenters' court: Hannan
Monday, 25 February 2008

Staff Correspondent

BNP leader ASM Hannan Shah has said dissidents can feel free to return to the party but they have to follow the rules. 'The ball is still in their court.

And they have to forget about the October 29 meeting,' Hannan, adviser to BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, told reporters at his DOHS home in Dhaka Saturday.

He repeated the condition earlier set by BNP secretary general Khandker Delwar Hossain that the dissenters must forgo the midnight meeting that had declared Saifur Rahman and M Hafizuddin Ahmed as the party's acting chairman and acting secretary general respectively.

'Return to that BNP as it was before October 29. You accept Khaleda Zia as your leader and we also do. So abide by the decisions of the party chairperson and let us work together,' said the senior BNP leader, who was detained and released several times in last one year.

Asked about the party's position on expelled leaders including Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, Hannan said, 'In most cases expelled persons have been taken back to the party on their application and most of the parties have similar instances.' 'There are expulsion orders on a few people including Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan.

As I am an optimistic man, I expect them to follow the party constitution,' he added. He also denounced the attempt to blame BNP for the stalemate in the dialogue on electoral reforms.

'Had the Election Commission sent the invitation to Khaleda Zia-nominated secretary general, no problem could arise,' he said, adding that the people would not tolerate any stage-managed election. Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, joint secretary general of the party, was present beside Hannan during the talks with reporters.

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