Zia calls on Modi, seeks intervention in 'restoring' democracy

Zia calls on Modi, seeks intervention in 'restoring' democracy

Former Bangladesh premier and opposition leader Khaleda Zia today sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention in "restoration" of democracy in the country as she called on him here.

Modi, on the second day of his maiden visit to Bangladesh met the full spectrum of Bangladeshi politicians, including Zia.

Calling on the Prime Minister, she conveyed to Modi that there was no democracy in the country and stressed that to ensure "actual development" in Bangladesh voices of the people must be heard.

"It was a very good meeting," the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief said, after an about 30-minute-long meeting with the Prime Minister at Hotel Sonargaon here where he was staying.

The opposition as well as parties from the ruling coalition hailed Modi as a "doer" who has a great vision for the entire SAARC region.

"He is a doer, he is pragmatic and he has dynamism and energy to bring prosperity to this region. It is because of him the law providing for implementation of LBA was approved in Indian parliament," Sharif Nurul Ambia, general secretary of Jatityo Samajtrantik Dal, said.

Leaders of several other political parties, including the left, also called on Modi during which they raised a number of key issues such as cross-border terrorism, religious fundamentalism, extremism and the issue regarding sharing of water. They underlined that both the countries should work together to address these challenges.

After the meeting, they hailed Modi's "bold leadership" and credited him for the ratification of the historic LBA which has paved the way for the resolution of the 41-year-long border dispute between the two countries.

"We apprised him about lack of democracy in Bangladesh. We told Modi that actual development cannot take place without democracy. We conveyed that he has been focusing on strengthening SAARC but at the same time efforts must be made to bring back democracy in Bangladesh," Zia's spokesperson Dr Moin Khan, who is also a standing committee member of BNP, told reporters.

"We know about Modi's strong views on democracy and everybody knows what is happening in Bangladesh," he added.

A number of BNP leaders were present during Modi's meeting with Zia. Later, they had a one-to-one meeting.

Asked about Zia's meeting with Modi, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said India supports democracy and opposes fundamentalism.

Hasanul Haq Inu, President of Jatiyo Samajtrantik Dal, said both the countries face the challenge of fundamentalism, cross-border terrorism and religious fanaticism and asserted that these challenges must be confronted unitedly.

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