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Khaleda's conviction

Latest twist in long-running pol tirade

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Special Correspondent :
Bangladesh's polity has plunged into another phase of uncertainty following conviction of BNP Chief Begum Khaleda Zia in a corruption case, said observers.
They said political turmoil is therefore likely to continue as the opposition has already announced mass demonstrations programme protesting the court verdict heating up the country's political situation again.
"BNP is the most popular party of the country. People are worried and frustrated for the conviction of Begum Khaleda Zia. This can heat up the country's political situation again deepening the crisis further," Prof Dr Emajuddin Ahmed, former vice-chancellor of the Dhaka University told The New Nation yesterday.
He, however, sees the court ruling as a victory for the ruling Awami League (AL) that wants to wipe out opposition BNP from Bangladesh politics as a long-run rival.
"The judgment marks the latest twist in Bangladesh's long-running political tirade. In fact the court ruling further deepens the crisis.   
A political solution seems far away as BNP claims the ruling AL has illegally interfered in the court procedure," Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, a political observer, told The New Nation yesterday.
He said it (judgement) comes as no surprise when the country is witnessing a bitter power struggle between the AL and BNP.
Dr Zafrullah, however, said the conviction of Khaleda has created an opportunity for BNP for reunite and democratization of the parry to garner peoples' sympathy. "BNP ranks and file should cash in the situation taking rigorous mass campaign across the country." he added.
"At the same time, the party should take all-out preparation for the next election with the selection of popular and efficient party leaders as candidate," he added.
Dr Zafrullah expressed the hope that Khaleda may secure bail from a higher court. But it will not come all of a sudden. BNP should also keep faith in the higher court for securing the bail of its party chief.
"Bangladesh has the long history of political divide and the verdict could further widen the split escalating political unrest ahead of the upcoming general election," said Dr Badiul Alam Majumdar, General Secretary of the Sushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Sujan).
He said BNP has already showed strong resentment against the verdict and announced fresh demonstration programme. This can lead street protests inviting fresh political violence.
"The road towards peace and reconciliation will be rocky unless two political parties do not engage themselves to negotiation over the future course of politics. Such initiative will help avert potential disaster," said Dr Badiul Alam Majumdar.
He, however, stressed the need for creation of independent institutions for establishing the rule of law and ensuring level playing fields for all political parties in the next  parliament election.

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