Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia has warned the government that no matter how hard it tries, it will not be able to hold the 11th parliamentary elections by keeping the BNP out of the mix. “We are an election-oriented party. We must take part in elections. No one can keep us out of the polls even if they want to. We will join the election,” Zia told a gathering of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal in the capital. “It’s not going to happen… if you (government) think you will announce the election after detaining our people. No election like that of 2014 will be held in Bangladesh any more.

The elections will be inclusive in this country,” the BNP chief was quoted as saying by bdnews24.com on Wednesday. She said no election would be “acceptable” by keeping her party out, claiming it was the largest in the country. “Because the entire world has realised that the election with Hasina in power was not fair and it won’t be,” the former Prime Minister said. The BNP sat out of Parliament after around two-and-half decades by boycotting the 2014 elections held with Hasina as the Prime Minister.

The party has been demanding dissolution of Parliament and formation of a “non-partisan, facilitating” government before the general elections, a demand the ruling Awami League has refused to entertain. Zia renewed the demand, claiming that Hasina and her party decided to oversee the elections “to perpetuate power”. She claimed the current government was “not elected by the people and everything happens in the country on Hasina’s orders now and that is why it is going backward”. She criticised the government for not appointing a Chief Justice since the resignation of Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha and alleged that the authorities “forced” him out at “gunpoint”.