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Fire in Sonar Bangla

Khaleda Zia?s snub to Pranab Mukherjee does not matter in the long run. But she is making a strategic blunder by staying aligned with Jamaat

By?Salil Tripathi First Published in Live Mint:?Fri, Mar 08 2013

When President Pranab Mukherjee visited Bangladesh earlier this week, its opposition leader Khaleda Zia (above) of the BNP did not meet him, because of public strikes that her ally, Jamaat-i-Islami, has been calling to protest the verdicts of the Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal. Photo: AFP
When President Pranab Mukherjee visited Bangladesh earlier this week, its opposition leader Khaleda Zia (above) of the BNP did not meet him, because of public strikes that her ally, Jamaat-i-Islami, has been calling to protest the verdicts of the Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal. Photo: AFP
Earlier this week, when President?Pranab Mukherjee?visited Bangladesh, its opposition leader?Khaleda Zia?of the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) did not meet him, because of public strikes that her ally, Jamaat-i-Islami, has been calling to protest the verdicts of the Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal. The BNP called another strike this week in sympathy with the Jamaat, whose leaders are, one by one, being convicted of war crimes by the Tribunal.

March 12 Rally

We were, we are, we'll stay, was the slogan on recent Awami League posters. BNP haven't quite gotten to three generations yet, but the dynasty game is certainly one both parties want to play. ??Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

The government was hell bent on preventing the opposition rally. Trains, buses and launches were all stopped. Ordinary passengers were beaten up and prevented from off loading at stations and ferrys. The police were out in full force in the city, checking on people to make sure they were not opposition supporters heading for the rally.