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Ruling Bangladesh National Party splits

Around 10 BNP ministers and MPs left to join a new party led by former Bangladesh President B Chowdhury and senior leader Oli Ahmed.

india Updated: Oct 26, 2006 16:52 IST

Amid rising political temperatures in Bangladesh, a group of dissidents on Thursday resigned from Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and launched a new political outfit.

Around 10 BNP ministers and MPs left to join a new party led by former Bangladesh President Badruddoza Chowdhury and senior BNP leader Oli Ahmed.

Both Chowdhury and Ahmed are founding members of the BNP. The new party was named the Liberal Democratic Party at a press conference here.

Meanwhile, all kinds of demonstrations have been banned for an indefinite period in capital Dhaka. Metropolitan police also banned the carrying of oars, sticks, explosives and weapons.

The ban was enforced to "maintain order" as a section of political parties planned to demonstrate, media reports said, quoting a police statement.

BNP Secretary General Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan announced yesterday that there would be no talks unless the opposition accepted retired Chief Justice KM Hasan as the head of the caretaker government to oversee elections within 90 days.

"We will hand over power to Justice Hasan as per the Constitution," he said.

The decision brought the curtain down on talks and opened the doors for uncertainty and fears of violence as Zia ends her term on Friday after addressing the nation.

The Awami League has already rejected the appointment of Justice Hasan as the next caretaker chief alleging he belonged to the BNP.

Justice Hasan has remained silent so far with appeals from various sides for a solution to the crisis.

The Awami League-led 14-party opposition alliance on Wednesday accused the BNP-led four-party coalition of "sabotaging" the talks and taking the country towards confrontation.

Awami League general secretary Abdul Jalil urged the ruling alliance to return to the talks to break the political deadlock over electoral reforms.

He warned that people would pour into the capital with "oars and sticks" according to Sheikh Hasina's call if Hasan took over as the caretaker head on Saturday.

Jalil also ruled out the possibility of elections under Justice Hasan.

First Published: Oct 26, 2006 16:46 IST