AL watching BNP's moves

Staff Correspondent . Dhaka | Update:

AL-BNP-logoRuling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) is keeping its watch on the moves and activities of the country’s principal opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

AL leaders say they are not concerned about the BNP's meeting with the United Nations officials in New York and the US state department officials.

However, they believe, if the BNP manages to forge any alliance with the Jukto (United) Front, led by Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh (BDB) president AQM Badrudozza Chowdhury and Gano Forum president Kamal Hossain, the anti-government activities in the international arena will be stronger.

AL leaders think the coalition of Badrudozza Chowdhury, Kamal Hossain, ASM Abdur Rab, Mahmudur Rahman Manna and other leaders will not pose any threat for the AL in the politics of vote but their possible coalition with the BNP will send a strong message to the international community.

A three-member BNP team, led by its secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, on Thursday held a meeting with UN assistant secretary general for political affairs Miroslav Jenca and discussed political and human rights issues in Bangladesh.

AL leaders termed this meeting the outcome of the BNP's lobbying and such meeting was part of pre-polls activities by various other anti-government forces at the United Nations and European Union.

While keeping an eye on such developments, ruling party leaders said the impact of the BNP's meeting in New York will be understandable when prime minister Sheikh Hasina would join the United Nations General Assembly later this month.

"The prime minister may be apprised of the UN interest, if there is any about the country's political situation," an AL leader said adding that the next steps would be taken accordingly.

Before the 5 January 2014 polls, the UN secretary-general’s special emissary Oscar Fernandez Taranco came to Bangladesh to advocate peaceful resolution to the crisis ahead of the 10th parliamentary elections.

The AL's think-tank believes the BNP may try to bring another special emissary like Taranco before the 11th parliamentary elections.

The AL 'will not bow down to any pressure except that of the countrymen', the party maintains. It is also confident that the AL is in a better position this time around, compared to the pre-2014-polls situation.

“Public support and the roots of the Awami League are not weak. Only the people of the country can create pressure on us. We will not bow down to the pressure of any other quarters,” Obaidul Quader told newsmen on Friday.

Another AL leader, wishing anonymity, told Prothom Alo that in 2014 the main question was whether the elections would be held under the government headed by Sheikh Hasina. "This issue is not that strong now."

The AL camp may join discussion on elections if the BNP decided to contest polls, without any influence of their convicted chairperson Khaleda Zia and its senior vice chairman Tarique Rahman, the AL leader pointed out.

Khaleda Zia has been in jail since he was convicted in a graft case on 8 February.

On Thursday, UN secretary general’s assistant spokesperson confirmed the UN officials' meeting with the BNP leaders and said the UN urged all to hold free, fair, inclusive and peaceful national elections in Bangladesh.

The BNP may now join the rally convened by Gano Forum president Kamal Hossain at Suhrawardy Udyan on 22 September.

Gano Forum executive president Subrata Chowdhury told Prothom Alo on Friday that the decision on the BNP’s joining of the coalition is yet to be finalised.

*The report, published in print edition of Prothom Alo, has been rewritten in English by Shameem Reza

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