Published : Thursday, 28 May, 2015, Time : 12:00 AM, View Count : 280
The pro-Indian posture being demonstrated of late by the BNP in the name of welcoming the Bangladesh visit of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is mere political bluff and cunning to mislead the New Delhi administration with an ultimate objective of attaining political gains. An ardent and traditionally India-baiting party, the BNP and its alliance earlier launched vilification campaigns against India. Here at home, in season and out of season, the BNP has tried consistently to paint the Awami League government as an Indian stooge. But suddenly it has shifted its stance on New Delhi only to attain its dubious objective of coming by political gains, senior leaders of the Awami League note. "The BNP never did anti-Indian politics nor will it do so in future. The party works in the greater national interest and it can't be said to be anti-Indian," claimed BNP International Affairs Secretary Asaduzzaman Ripon on Wednesday. Citing a number of instances to refute Ripon's observations, a presidium member of the ruling Awami League said, "The BNP has always been an anti-Indian party since it was founded by Ziaur Rahman. The party basically was formed through assembling all anti-Indian elements and fundamentalists under one umbrella." It may be noted that as recently as May 1, 2014, at a public rally on the occasion of May Day, Khaleda Zia accused the Awami League-led government of a slave of India. BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in an interview with the BBC in December 2011 said that the present AL-led government did not speak for the country's people but worked for another country. She did not name the country, but the implication was clear. So long as the present government is in power, said Khaleda Zia, there will be more damage caused to the country. In November 2011, at a rally at Kushtia, Khaleda Zia claimed that the government of the country was actually the Indian government and was run by it. People were killed at the border constantly and Indian security forces occupied Bangladesh's territory, but the government does not utter a word in protest. She also claimed in the same year that the government had tried to implement a 25-year treaty of slavery, signed after liberation, with India. The AL-led government had assumed power to implement that treaty. Khaleda Zia also made the call several times for all business relations with India to be rescinded. She was loud in her demand that no deal should be signed on such issues as corridors and transit if India did not sign the Teesta water sharing agreement with Bangladesh. She also said that no vehicles should be allowed transit facilities through Bangladesh. She made the impolitic statement that Sheikh Hasina's government was trying to turn Bangladesh into a state of the Indian Union and that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had gone to India to mortgage the country to India, another AL presidium member recalled the BNP chief as saying. After Bangladesh's arbitration triumph on the maritime boundary questions with India and Myanmar, BNP Vice-Chairman Major (retd.) Hafiz Uddin Ahmed claimed at a discussion that since the number of brokers working for India had increased in the country, there was no need of the Indian High Commission in the country, noted an AL leader. The BNP's anti-India position was also articulated several times by other senior BNP figures, such as Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, Mirza Abbas, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy and Khairul Kabir Khokon. AL Presidium Member Kazi Zafarullah told the Daily Observer, "BNP always used the anti-India card to undermine the Awami League. It began with its founder Ziaur Rahman." "Khaleda Zia also refused to meet Indian President Pranab Mukherjee during his first official foreign visit to Bangladesh in March 2013," he said. "After the national election on January 5, 2014, the BNP leaders claimed that they wanted to build good relations with India, but the party has always maintained links with Pakistan and its allies," Zafrullah added. AL Presidium Member Nuh-ul-Alam Lenin said, "That the BNP has raised the issue at this time proves it has always played an anti-Indian role. It is in fact pro-Pakistani and is guided and directed by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)." "When Khaleda Zia went to visit India, she just forgot to raise the issue of Teesta water sharing," Lenin said. On her arrival back home from New Delhi, when reporters asked her if the Teesta water sharing issue had been discussed with her Indian hosts, Khaleda Zia pretended that she had forgotten to raise this issue although it was a life and death question for Bangladesh," noted Lenin.