The party’s leaders said the prime minister’s comment on BNP coming to power in 2001 through an undertaking to sell gas to India was unfortunate, unexpected and irresponsible.
“Such an irresponsible comment from someone in the prime minister’s position is unacceptable. Victory in 2001 election depended on the citizens and the voting system, not on an undertaking like she has claimed,” BNP Vice-Chairman Shamsuzzaman Dudu told the Dhaka Tribune over phone.
“The prime minister’s comments are fictional. Either she will have to come up with proof, or apologise to the nation,” Dudu demanded.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said BNP had won the 2001 elections by promising US interests to explore gas in Bangladesh for sale to India.
“The RAW agent here, he was always in Hawa Bhaban [BNP chairperson’s former political office] back then, as were the US embassy people,” Hasina said at an event.
Although Hasina has spoken before about conspiracies surrounding the 2001 elections, this was the first time she named the Indian intelligence agency.
BNP standing committee member Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman said: “BNP’s victory in 2001 election, where I was also elected as a lawmaker, was a reflection of the hopes and aspirations of the 16 crore people of the country.”
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir in an official reaction said the prime minister’s remark was irresponsible.
“We are shocked by her statement. We cannot imagine how the prime minister would make such an irresponsible remark,” he told the press at the party office on Monday.
“Her comment tells the people that foreign powers are at work in Bangladesh and are involved in regime change and interference,” he said.
He asked whether Awami League had made such promises to foreign powers to win the 2014 election.
“People know that the Indian foreign secretary came to Bangladesh during 2014 election and went to many places. He even convinced Ershad to join in the polls,” he said.
“Should people think that RAW played the most important role in that election?” he said.
The BNP secretary general said the party had done nothing against the interests of the state.
“The prime minister makes false comments regularly to achieve political interests, which divides the nation,” he said.