Meeting with Pranab cancelled for life threat: Khaleda

Meeting with Pranab cancelled for life threat: Khaleda

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BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia in an interview with an Indian newspaper has said that she had to cancel her meeting with visiting Indian President Pranab Mukherjee in 2013 as she faced a life threat.
She also alleged that the Awami League-led government has continued a concerted propaganda against her and her party to paint it as anti-India and anti-Hindu.Khaleda also alleged that the government tried its best to thwart her meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who recently visited Bangladesh, the Indian daily Sunday Guardian reported on Saturday.
Sourav Sanya of the Indian daily Sunday Guardian took the interview at Khaleda Zia’s Gulshan office just hours after she had met Modi on June 7.
Replying to a question of Sanyal as to why she had chosen not to meet Pranab Mukherjee, Khaleda said, “I’m glad you asked me this question. Yes it’s a fact that I couldn’t meet President Pranab Mukherjee during his state visit to Bangladesh. Jamaat-e-Islami had called a general strike…I had to call off my meeting with the President then as we received inputs that had I gone there to meet him, I would have been attacked. In fact, there could have been a life threat. And if you recall, at that very spot near his hotel which I was supposed to cross, there was a petrol bomb explosion.”
She further said, “Had anything happened to me, the entire blame would have been pinned on Jamaat. And that is what the game plan was of our opponents, which we understood and the meeting was called off. Today, I’m sharing with you the real story.”
As Sourav Sanyal drew her attention that the world outside perceived calling off the meeting as yet another manifestation her anti-India stand, Khaleda replied, “Why should I be anti-India? See this is what I was trying to tell you. There’s a concerted propaganda by the ruling government to try and paint me as anti-India and anti-Hindu.”
Mentioning that India and Bangladesh have had very strong bonding, she said her party recognises full well the contributions India made to Bangladesh’s liberation.
“Prime Minister Modi’s visit is aimed at strengthening India-Bangla ties further. It suits them to project me as anti-India. There is a well-oiled propaganda machinery that works relentlessly to project me and BNP as anti-India,” the BNP chief told the newspaper.
About her party’s alliance with Jamaat-e-Islami which is perceived to be religious hardliners and not quite pro-India in their approach, Khaleda said Jamaat their alliance partner and that’s it. “In the alliance they have to listen to the BNP.”
She alleged that the religious minority population in Bangladesh, Hindus particularly, have been badly suffering in the hands of Awami League. “Their houses have been looted, land taken away … And we are projected as anti-Hindu? We are with Hindus and for the welfare of every citizen of the country.”
About her meeting with Modi, the BNP chief said it was a very satisfactory meeting declining to elaborate further. “It was wonderful meeting Modiji. I must say the meeting was held in a very cordial manner. I was very satisfied.”
Asked the reason behind the confusion brewed about her meeting with Modi, Khaleda said, “What was the confusion all about? Did I for once say that that I wouldn’t meet Modiji? I had personally congratulated him on his electoral victory. Did you hear a single leader from our Bangladesh Nationalist Party say that I wouldn’t meet Modiji?”
“The confusion was deliberately created to send out wrong signals and they tried their level best and virtually left no stones unturned to ensure that my meeting with Modiji didn’t happen,” she added.- UNB

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