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Pranab's first crisis is Dhaka split

B'desh crisis is the first big issue for the new FM, reports Nilova R Chaudhury.

india Updated: Oct 27, 2006 06:03 IST

The political crisis in Bangladesh took a new turn on Thursday when Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) split, with more than 100 of its leaders floating a separate outfit, the Liberal Democratic Party.

The situation in the neighbouring country is so grave that in his very second day in office, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee held a long briefing with senior officials over the situation prevailing there.

At least 12 ministers in Khaleda Zia's government joined the new party, two days before her term as prime minister ends.

As laid down in the Constitution, Khaleda Zia is due to demit office on Saturday to allow an interim government to take over, to enable an impartial conduct of elections to Parliament, scheduled for January next year.

Adding to the crisis was the refusal of the opposition Awami League, under Sheikh Hasina, to accept a caretaker government under former chief justice KM Hasan.

The League has threatened violent demonstrations.

Mukherjee had talked of Bangladesh after taking over as foreign minister on Wednesday. He said India has taken up the issue of terrorist activities against India, emanating from Bangladesh.

First Published: Oct 27, 2006 02:31 IST