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Bangladesh deadlocked as political battle over poll row intensifies

Bangladesh deadlocked as political battle over poll row intensifiesDhaka/Narayanganj (Bangladesh), Dec 2: Violence continues to dominate the Bangladesh landscape, as the battle between feuding political parties intensifies.

There are rumors that this could delay or even derail the polls due on January 5.

Opposition supporters in Bangladesh detonated scores of homemade bombs and removed railway tracks to disrupt train services last week as a planned nationwide protest against upcoming elections turned violent.

One man died and dozens were wounded across the country in clashes between supporters of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and the police.

Trustee of liberation war museum and vice-president of cultural organisation 'Chhayanaut', Sarwar Ali, said: "This year it will be wrong to assume that this has been a personal rivalry between Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia, the leader of the opposition. Now, this has become a struggle to get back to democratic practices and also continue the trial of the war criminals in Bangladesh."

The BNP is opposed to the formation of a caretaker cabinet to oversee the elections.

Commenting over the political uncertainty, Ali said: "It is just not the civil society; the people in general would expect amicable settlement of the differences between the two major political parties. Naturally, any country in the world should start with a dialogue that eventually reaches to a solution."

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formed a poll-time administration this month involving members of the ruling party and the opposition to oversee the ballots, as is the usual pattern in Bangladesh to try to ensure a free and fair vote.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) says the interim cabinet is not impartial and has rejected any attempt to hold an election until it is satisfied a neutral interim administration is in place without Hasina.

Expressing concern over the escalating tensions, Ali said: "The worst scenario would be that there is an intervention of the third force and the democracy in Bangladesh can get into trouble again and that's the worst and possibly endless season of violence and extremism coming into force."

The BNP has rejected any attempt to hold an election until it is satisfied a neutral interim administration is in place without Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Both heirs to political dynasties, Hasina and BNP leader Begum Khaleda Zia have rotated as prime minister for most of the last 22 years amid unending enmity, set against an all-too-familiar background of violent protest in one of the world's poorest countries.

The dispute over the conduct of the election has led to the deaths of at least 30 people in protests and a series of strikes over recent weeks. (ANI)