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Dhaka Tribune

BNP alliance leaders: AL to lose India’s blessing if BJP assumes power

Update : 09 May 2014, 09:45 PM

Leaders of the BNP-led 19-party alliance believe that if the BJP returns to power in India, the Awami League might not enjoy the state blessing of the Indian government any longer.  

They think the Awami League enjoyed tremendous support from India after the January 5 election boycotted by the then main opposition BNP only because the Congress was in power and the ruling party had better understanding with it.

Some leaders say if the BJP comes to power, the BNP alliance may not derive any significant benefit, but the Awami League government is likely to face some difficulties as its tie with the BJP is not as good as with the Congress.

Rather the BNP’s tie with the BJP was much better in the past.

Abdul Moyeen Khan, a Standing Committee member of the BNP, told the Dhaka Tribune that the Congress in India and the Awami League in Bangladesh seemed to have set up “a partnership of mutual convenience for historical or whatever reasons.”

He said: “Unfortunately this relationship should really have been set up between the people of Bangladesh and that of India. Consequently, whenever a government falls either in India or in Bangladesh the relationship between the two countries also collapses.

“The major architect of this scenario, on the one hand, was over-dominated by the south block in Delhi and in Bangladesh perhaps the group within the Awami League who crossed over to India in 1971.”

The former minister said: “Thus the perception of the common people is that there may be an overturn in the relationship between India and Bangladesh if the Congress is defeated in the next general election and the BJP comes to power.”

Andaleeve Rahman Partha, chairman of the Bangladesh Jatiya Party, said many people said the Indo-Bangladesh relations would not be affected by any change in the Indian government.

“But the working style would change and I think the new government would be more political and will work more politically. If the Congress government does not assume office, the Awami League government will not enjoy the benefits it has been enjoying till date.”

The BNP-led alliance leaders think if the BJP or any non-Congress power assumes office in New Delhi, a new window of opportunity will open up for improving its relation with India.

The party tried to mend its ties with India and to this end party chief Khaleda Zia visited India and held a series of meetings with top political figures. But Khaleda refused to meet Indian President Pranab Mukharjee when he came to Bangladesh – which many BNP leaders considered a great mistake in terms of the diplomatic relations with India.

Moyeen Khan said: “Whether this will bring any benefit to the BNP is a question that only time will answer. In the past it had been observed that the equation between the BJP and the BNP did not work out too badly.

“In essence, a lasting relationship between these two sensitive peoples in these two neighbouring countries will only be sustainable once the two governments understand that friendship must be left to people-to-people relationship instead of governments’ trying to interfere between them.”

On April 7, Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Pankaj Saran said India’s policy towards Bangladesh would not change even if there was a change of regime in New Delhi after the elections. He said every country had interests and those interest really did not change.

Shafiul Alam Prodhan, leader of another component of the BNP-led alliance, said national interest of the Indian government was its first priority and there was no scope for thinking that any sort of change in the Indian state would bring any change in the fate of Bangladesh.

“There is a different level of understanding between the Congress and the Awami League. The Awami League does not have the same relation with the BJP. But I do not think it will bring any sea of change in the relation between the two countries,” he said. 

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