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Will Khaleda meet BJP leaders while in London?

  • Published at 07:16 pm August 9th, 2017
Will Khaleda meet BJP leaders while in London?
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, who is currently in London, is likely to have a meeting with leaders of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to strengthen relations between the two parties, sources say. The BNP has been trying to improve its relations with the BJP ever since Narendra Modi's party came to power since 2014, sources in the party say. Relations between BNP and the Indian government took a nosedive after Khaleda declined to meet former Indian president Pranab Mukherjee citing security reasons during his 2013 Dhaka visit, they said.
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Over the last several years, BNP leaders, including Khaleda, have made anti-India statements at regular intervals, although the party had insisted on maintaining a “friendly relations” with the Indian government. Sources in the BNP say the party's senior leaders have been keeping in touch with the Indian ruling party for the last three years to mend the relations. So, the expected meeting between Khaleda and BJP leaders does not come as a surprise, they added. The BNP boycotted the last general election even as the then Indian foreign secretary had tried to convince the party to contest the polls, Khaleda had claimed at the time. Bangladesh is scheduled to go to polls in 2019. According to party insiders, several BJP leaders have good relations with BNP Senior Vice-Chairman and Khaleda's presumed heir Tarique Rahman and they met a few times in London in the past. BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has stressed that Khaleda was in London for medical treatment. A central BNP leader, requesting anonymity, said: “Even if Khaleda Zia meets BJP leaders, it is highly unlikely that anyone outside the party will know.” When contacted, BNP chief's press wing officials said she could meet her foreign friends and political leaders during her visit. In that case, the press wing said, it would brief the media. On July 25, presidium member of the ruling Awami League Mohammad Nasim told the journalists after a meeting of the ruling 14-party alliance at party president’s Dhanmondi office that BNP was conspiring in London to grab power in the next elections. But when contacted, Nasim denied to comment saying that “How I comment about BNP’s meeting with BJP without being sure.” Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury, organising secretary of Awami League, said: “BNP’s politics is depended on foreign power and allies. They do not have trust on people, election as well as constitution. That’s why are trying to hold meeting with BJP. Even they had done these kinds of meeting with Pakistan. “If they have trust on people and democracy then they would never plot conspiracy against country,” he said.