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Awami League returns to parliament


The Awami League (AL) leaders have finally decided not to resign from parliament. More significant is that the party has also decided to return to parliament after their long abstention from it. Awami league leaders are now getting ready to join the on-going session of parliament to place their plan for reforming of the caretaker government and the Election Commission.
This is a dramatic shift of stand on the part of the Awami League and its political partners. Earlier they were completely disagreeable to joining parliament and to have any kind of dialogue with the ruling party. But now they seem to have mellowed. They have changed gears and shifted to the encouraging position of not resigning from parliament. More significantly, they may begin discussions with the ruling BNP on issues about which they are very keen.
If the Awami League members stick obdurately to their plan of not talking to the ruling party, then this will surely create a political crisis. But now that they are seen to be changing their hard line and opting for a more reasonable stand. In such a development one may see hope that the political confrontation will lose intensity to permit normal life and living in the country.
If the Awami League returns to parliament and the BNP gives a patient hearing to their proposals and demonstrates a real willingness to negotiate these proposals in a spirit of true give-and-take, then it may be possible to have a negotiated settlement to end the political crisis and pave the way for smooth holding of national polls early in the next year. The Awami League and the BNP have a history of bitter confrontation.
But they also joined hands and struggled unitedly against the autocratic rule. They also sat together in parliament and voted together to change the form of government from the presidential system to a parliamentary one. Given the will, they can again rise to the occasion to attain a similar feat and save the country from the ruinous fall-out from a worst political confrontation.
The Awami League and its alliance partners will be held in high esteem by the people if they decide now to act reasonably and sensibly.
They have nothing to lose but everything to gain in people's esteem by giving up the path of confrontation in favour of a negotiated settlement with their political rivals.
AFM Sulaiman