BNP and allies to join elections after release of detained leaders

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Dhaka, Jun 30 (UNI) A four-party alliance led by Bangladesh National Party will consider joining the upcoming local-body elections only if its detained leaders, including former premier Khaleda Zia and Motiur Rahman Nizami are released.

The party yesterday declared that it would boycott the polls, stating: ''There is no question of legitimising the government by taking part in a farcical election.'' BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hussain also warned of stern actions against grassroot leaders of the grouping if they contested the polls defying the alliance's stand.

Mr Hussain said this after presiding over a meeting of the alliance, which reviewed the over all political situation specially in view of the Awami League's decision to participate in the city corporation and municipal elections slated for August 4, reviewing an earlier stand.

The four-party leaders renewed their demand for lifting of emergency and national election first, but kept the option open for joining polls if ex premier's two sons -- Tarique and Arafat-- were sent abroad for treatment and all detained leaders of BNP and Jamaat were released immediately.

''We will consider contesting the polls only if our demands are met and the time has not yet run out,'' The Bangladesh Today quoted him as saying.

The meeting also criticised the government for its failure to check price hike of essentials.

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