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Amit Shah’s ‘termite’ remark likely to be Dhaka election issue

NEW DELHI: BJP president Amit Shah’s verbal attacks on citizens of Bangladesh is expected to be an issue in the upcoming election season of Dhaka, a key political figure from that country’s opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) told The Hindu. General Secretary of BNP Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said that his party has taken note of Mr. Shah’s description of citizens of Bangladesh as ‘illegal immigrants’ and ‘termites’.

“Usually we do not pick up external issues for our election campaigns. But we have seen that he is repeatedly speaking about people of Bangladesh for some problems. We are aware that he has been saying such things in his public meetings across India. There is nothing to be surprised if his comments are taken up during the election campaign season,” said Mr. Alamgir, who mobilised the BNP-led opposition coalition against Sheikh Hasina’s rule.

India has maintained working ties with Dhaka but Awami League of Sheikh Hasina has not so far taken up Mr. Shah’s recent comments. Dhaka refused to issue an official statement after Mr. Shah described people of Bangladesh as as ‘termites’ and accused them of harming India.

But Hasanul Haq Inu, the current Information Minister and a coalition partner of Ms. Hasina, lashed out at Mr Shah’s remarks and described them as ‘unwanted’. However, as Information Minister, Mr. Inu is considered the spokesperson of the Bangladesh government.

“Issues raised by Indian leaders should be addressed by dialogue across the table. His comments about people of Bangladesh are not helpful for Dhaka-Delhi relations and given the political situation of Bangladesh, this unwanted comment may come up in the elections,” Mr. Alamgir said speaking over telephone from Dhaka.

The BNP is caught in a high-tension political battle with Prime Minister Hasina and the party has accused her of not taking a path of dialogue on many crucial political issues. At present BNP supremo Khaleda Zia is imprisoned on charges of corruption but recently the opposition has mobilised support and formed a broad coalition to take on the Awami League-led government.

PM Hasina described the new alliance as one formed by “corrupt, money launderers, and anti-freedom forces”. Mr. Alamgir, who is currently the senior-most leader of the BNP in the absence of Khaleda Zia, said that the Prime Minister should mend her ways and create an atmosphere for free and fair elections.

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 3:20:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/amit-shahs-termite-remark-likely-to-be-dhaka-election-issue/article25042715.ece

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