Thursday, January 24, 2019 | ePaper
BNP leaders see 'change in India's view' after tour
Two leaders of the BNP say they saw 'a change in the outlook of the Indians' about Bangladesh during a recent visit there.
BNP National Standing Committee Member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury and Vice Chairman Abdul Awal Mintoo returned home on Friday after the one-week tour to India, where they attended programmes organised by three organisations.
Their visit came at a time when BNP leaders are questioning Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's recent India tour, claiming she went there to win their support for the Awami League in the general elections.
"We met different think-tanks, civil society organisations and journalists in India," former minister Khasru said.
He said the Indians they had met "realised the crisis in Bangladesh ahead of the election and the need for overcoming it".
"I think it's a good thing, a positive change. India wants a fair, acceptable, and inclusive election in Bangladesh in future," Khasru said.
"We think it will be a positive for the relations between the two countries if the opinion and expectation of Bangladesh's people is reflected and if India's role gets visible (in the polls)," he added. Mintoo, a former FBCCI chief, told bdnews24.com that the Indians listened to the BNP leaders 'attentively' at the seminars.
"That's what we want to describe as a 'change in view'. We never got so much attention (from India) before. It's the first change. We realised the change during conversations with them," he said.
"Our big neighbour does not wish such a perception is created where it is believed that they have a liking for a particular party. The BNP sits out of parliament after the boycott of the 2014 general election.
It is quite uncertain whether the party will contest in the next election due by the end of this year - its chief Khaleda Zia in jail for corruption and violence-related cases and the Awami League not agreeing to meet the BNP's demand for installation of a non-partisan government to oversee the balloting.
Besides Khasru and Mintoo, International Affairs Secretary Humayun Kabir was also in the tour party.
They attended three seminars organised by the Observer Research Foundation, Vivekananda International Foundation, and Rajiv Gandhi Foundation on Bangladesh-India ties, the state of Bangladesh's politics and the next general election.
The BNP leaders said they also held meetings with leaders of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP and opposition Congress.