If takes place, it will be the third meeting between the prime minister and top Oikya Front leaders
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has invited the top leaders of Jatiya Oikya Front to exchange greetings at Ganabhaban over tea on February 2.
Separate invitation cards were sent to all the members of the opposition platform’s Steering Committee from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Saturday, reports UNB.
"You are invited to exchange greetings over tea at Ganabhaban at 3:30pm on February 2," read an invitation card sent to Gono Forum Executive President Subrata Chowdhury.
Contacted, Subrata said they received the invitation cards sent to their party office in the morning.
Gono Forum’s Training Affairs Secretary Rafiqul Islam Pathik said two PMO staff members came to their office around 11am and handed over the invitation cards for all the Oikya Front Steering Committee members, including Dr Kamal Hossain, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, ASM Abdur Rab, Subrata, Mostafa Mohsin Montu and Mahmudur Rahman Manna.
Asked whether they will go, Subrata replied in the negative. "I personally think we should not respond to such an invitation to take tea at Ganabhaban. I also find no reason to accept the invitation."
He, however, said they will take the final decision after discussions with the platform leaders once Dr Kamal returns home from abroad.
Oikya Front Convener Kamal, who is also the Gono Forum president, went to Singapore on January 19 for medical purposes, and he is scheduled to return home on Sunday night.
On January 13, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader said the prime minister would hold fresh dialogues with the political parties that joined talks held at Ganabhaban before the 11th general election.
Reacting to his remarks, BNP Secretary General and Oikya Front spokesperson Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said they would need to know the agenda before deciding whether to join the talks or not.
“We will only join [any dialogue] if the agenda includes scrapping the 11th general election,” he told reporters.
Later, however, Quader said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would invite the political parties only to exchange greetings and take tea, not to hold dialogues.
Hasina, who is the president of ruling Awami League, had held talks with 75 political parties before the December 30 polls.
Oikya Front top leaders, led by Dr Kamal, sat twice with her on November 1 and November 7 last year at Ganabhaban.
Oikya Front was formed in October last year. At the time, the platform comprised BNP, Gono Forum, ASM Abdur Rab-led Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Mahmudur Rahman Manna’s Nagorik Oikya and a faction of Jatiya Oikya Prokriya.
Abdul Kader Siddique’s Krishak Sramik Janata League joined the coalition later.
Earlier this month, Awami League formed the government for the third consecutive term following its landslide victory in the general election.
Since the election, Oikya Front, which won eight seats, has been accusing the government of vote rigging and other irregularities, calling for fresh polls.
Eight MPs of the coalition have not taken oath yet, while all the other new lawmakers are ready to join the 11th parliament following their swearing-in on January 3.