Khaleda Zia's cancelling meet shocks Indian President

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New Delhi, March 7: Bangladeshi opposition leader Khaleda Zia's turning down the occasion to meet Indian President Pranab Mukherjee during the latter's recent visit to Dhaka has left Mukherjee shocked. When the President, who went ahead with the visit, his first foreign tour after taking over the office last year, was asked about the reason behind Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief's decision, he said only Zia could answer that.

Mukherjee had gone ahead with the tour amid serious turmoil in Bangladesh with a hope that it would help the two neighbours to improve their bilateral relations. The opposition parties in Bangladesh had called strikes on all three days of Mukherjee's visit and even the blast occurred near the hotel where the Indian President had stayed.

Mukherjee had met all frontline leaders of Bangladesh during his tour including the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina Wajed, former president Ershad and other leftist workers and discussed the ongoing turmoil in detail. But Zia decided not to meet Mukherjee.

According to observers, Zia, who leads an anti-India outfit is trying to project the current clash between the fundamentalists and young protesters as one which is being backed by India.

The ruling party, Awami League's opposition to Jamaat-i-Islami's style of right-wing Islamist politics and thrust on better relations with India is disliked by the BNP. In this condition, it is not unlikely that Zia decided to cancel her scheduled meet with the Indian president. It was important for her to ignite the fundamentalist cause to gain political mileage ahead of the next national elections not much away.

A personal relation is considered much less significant in the realm of realpolitik.

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