AL pleased but perturbed

Anwar Hossain | Update:

Awami LeagueRuling Awami League is pleased with the verdict that sentenced BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia to five years in jail, but at the same time it is perturbed that this will win her public sympathy.

Despite being pleased with the verdict, the ruling party decided not to celebrate, fearing that the people would see the verdict as politically motivated.

An Awami League presidium member told Prothom Alo that it was essential to prove Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman corrupt. This would be propagated ahead of the election at home and abroad.

He also said Khaleda Zia and BNP would have a tougher time following her imprisonment.

BNP leaders would be busy for the release of their party chairperson and this would curb their demand for an election-time supportive government and preparations for the election, he added.

Talking about their worries centring the verdict, senior AL leaders said that the ruling party was concerned as to whether people's sympathy would increase for Khaleda Zia following the verdict as BNP leaders have so far displayed maturity before and after the verdict.

However, AL presidium member and health minister Mohammad Nasim told Prothom Alo, ''Politicians in prison used to become great leaders during the Pakistan period as those cases were political. But, Khaleda Zia has been convicted in a graft case. Why would she get people's sympathy?''

After Khaleda and Tarique's conviction, the government will now face more pressure for trials of other graft charges against ruling party. This is another worry for the ruling AL, said several of its leaders.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Nasim also told Prothom Alo that the ruling party has nothing to be satisfied or dissatisfied with the verdict of Khaleda.

Ruling AL general secretary Obaidul Quader on Friday said, ''Khaleda Zia's conviction in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case would only deepen BNP's internal crisis, not the country's political crisis.''

Also the road transport and bridges minister, Quader came up with the remarks while visiting a BRTA project in Gazipur.

Two pro-AL lawyers told Prothom Alo that it is unclear why BNP did not protest against the verdict violently.

It appeared that BNP leaders showed maturity in their reaction and protests before and after the verdict, though it also seemed the party had organisational weaknesses and law enforcers' stern stand thwarted any street agitation.

AL presidium member Faruk Khan told Prothom Alo that AL has no gains or losses over Khaleda's verdict.

No one is above law - this has been proved through the verdict, he said.

The incumbent government does not even excuse its own ministers and members of parliament. Whoever is corrupt faces trial, he added.

*The article originally published in Prothom Alo print edition has been rewritten in English by Imam Hossain

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