Khaleda Zia has discussed the next general elections with visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry.The chief of the BNP that boycotted the 10th parliamentary elections held in 2014 met Kerry at the US chancery complex in Dhaka on Monday.After the meeting, BP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told the media: “They (US) are full of hope, and we are also hopeful that Bangladesh will see economic development as well as establishment of democracy here with the help of the US.”Mirza Fakhrul, who was present in the meeting, said the next election was also discussed with the top US diplomat in details.”They (US) want to work with Bangladesh as a friend to establish democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” he said.
The BNP maintains the current Awami League government is illegitimate.Washington had also been unhappy with that election and expressed the hope that all the parties will take part in the next election.The BNP secretary general, however, did not disclose the details on the discussion about the next election.”The current state democracy of Bangladesh, freedom of the media, human rights and the rule of law – these issues were discussed,” Mirza Fakhrul said. “Along with these (issues), the most critical issue Bangladesh is facing now – militancy and terrorism – was also discussed in details, he added.BNP Standing Committee Member Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury and Vice Chairman Sabih Uddin Ahmed were also with Khaleda in the meeting.Kerry, who arrived on Monday morning on a whirlwind visit, went to US chancery complex after visiting the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum, holding meetings with the prime minister and another meeting with key ministers, including the foreign minister.Khaleda went to the complex in Baridhara from her house in Gulshan at 4:15pm and left almost an hour later.Mirza Fakhrul briefed the media about the meeting after returning to Khaleda’s house.The BNP has been alleging that the ruling Awami League is running the state affairs like an ‘autocrat’. The party also maintains that the rule of law and freedom of speech are absent.The government, on the other hand, has refused Khaleda’s call for ‘national unity’ against terrorism, blaming her party for ‘backing militancy’ instead.After meeting Kerry in this ‘critical situation’, Mirza Fakhrul said, “They (US) are helping us to bring back stability. They are cooperating with our country.”Ambassador Marcia Bernicat accompanied Kerry during the meeting with Khaleda.Though the BNP is not in parliament after the boycott of Jan 5 elections, foreigners dealing with Bangladesh politics take Khaleda seriously.In 2012, the then secretary of state Hillary Clinton met Khaleda during a two-day visit to Dhaka.Democratic Party leader Hillary is running for president in the election scheduled for Nov 8.