Awami League delegation to meet PM Modi today
New Delhi: A high-power delegation of Bangladesh's ruling Awami League led by its general secretary has arrived in New Delhi at the invitation of the Indian ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) here on Sunday.
This is for the first time, a high-level political interaction is going to take place between the two ruling parties of both the countries months before the national elections of Bangladesh, slated for December this year.
The delegation headed by Obaidul Quader, Minister for Road Transport and Bridges of the Bangladesh Government, and also number two in the party hierarchy after Prime Minister and party president, Sheikh Hasina, will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday besides meeting with other top leaders of the NDA Government.
The visit which came at the invitation of BJP general secretary Ram Madhav assumed significance for the fact that the country will hold its general election later this year and also this is at a time when a large number of Rohingya refugees are still in that country following the crackdown by the Myanmarese Army in Rakhine state.
Generally, the official position of Government of India is not to interfere in the internal affairs of the neighbouring country. Indian High Commissioner Harsh Bardhan Sringla stated this position to this correspondent in Dhaka recently and also said,"It's the duty of the people of Bangladesh to choose their own Government. India never interferes in the internal affairs of a country." But diplomats familiar with the India-Bangladesh bilateral relation has no hesitation to say that during the tenure of Sheikh Hasina the bilateral relationship has been growing satisfactorily with mutual benefits.
The visit is important not only because of the ensuing general election but also amidst a tense political situation in Bangladesh following the arrest of opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia on the charge of corruption. The opposition party BNP did not participate in the last general election and the Awami League party won the maximum number of seats uncontested.
This time it's also not sure whether BNP will participate in the election or not. The Information and Broadcasting Minister Hsanul Haq Inu told a group of foreign journalists including this correspondent that opposition BNP was still trying to sabotage the general election. Their leaders were putting conditions of unconditional release of Begum Zia from the jail. According to the constitution of Bangladesh if any person is convicted in a court of law he or she can not contest the election. The opposition BNP is also in a dilemma about participation in the general election.
According to the Election Act of the country if a political party does not contest for consecutive two years the registration of the party will be cancelled. BNP leaders are now desperate to placate India to find a compromise formula for participation in the election.
The delegation members are categorical about the meeting with Prime Minister Modi and president Shah that upcoming election and the current political scenario of Bangladesh would be discussed with the Indian leaders.
Traditionally, Awami League has a better understanding with the Indian National Congress party and especially with the Gandhi family. During Rahul Gandhi's formal elevation as Congress, president in the recently held plenary session of the AICC Awami league had sent a delegation with former Foreign Minister Dipu Moni as the leader.
The delegation had a meeting the president Gandhi and apprised him about the situation in the country. After that Congress party in its resolution urged the Government of India to take a proactive stand regarding the Rohingya crisis.
The delegation will meet Prime Minister Modi at his residence in the afternoon. After that, they will be visiting BJP Central office to meet party president and other leaders.
In the evening BJP general secretary, Madhav will host dinner in honour of the visiting delegation at the residence of Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu who will visit Bangladesh soon.