'Grand alliance' leaders gather to take iftar
Thursday, 25 September 2008

 Alliance leaders led by AL are seen at a Ifter party at a community center in the capital yesterday. Bid to revive coalition

Staff Correspondent

Leaders of the one-time AL-led 'grand alliance' gathered at a community centre for iftar on Wednesday, apparently in an effort to revive the coalition amid disputes over the stake of the Ershad-led Jatiya Party.

JP chairman HM Ershad, Bikalpadhara Bangladesh president Badruddoza Chowdhury, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Inu) president Hasanul Huq Inu, Workers Party of Bangladesh president Rashed Khan Menon, Pankaj Bhattacharya of Gano Forum, Sheikh Razzak Ali of Liberal Democratic Party, Islami Oikya Jote leader Misbahur Rahman Chowdhury attended the iftar at Priyanka Community Centre in Dhanmondi.
AL acting secretary general Syed Ashraful Islam, presidium members Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, Suranjit Sengupta, Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Motia Chowdhury were among those representing Awami League.
No representative from the Communist Party of Bangladesh was present, though the party was invited. Ashraful had said on Tuesday his party would try and bring parties such as CPB into the alliance.
Gano Forum president Dr Kamal Hossain was not invited, an Awami League leader told bdnews24.com.
Speaking at the iftar gathering, Rashed Khan Menon said: "There is nothing now called the grand alliance. The alliance was formed ahead of the cancelled Jan 22, 2007 polls."
On his WPB's stand against Jatiya Party joining any newly revived alliance, he said his party had not changed its mind on the matter yet.
Pankaj Bhhatacharya too spoke out against Ershad. Pankaj also came down hard on Awami League general secretary Syed Ashraful Islam for terming Islami Oikya Jote 'non-communal and democratic."
Awami League, however, appeared to welcome Ershad as a prospective ally with open arms.
Dozens of AL leaders met Ershad's car on his arrival at the community centre.
Ashraful, however, not wishing to raise any controversy, stressed it was a "religious event".
Ershad himself said: "AL leaders have said Sheikh Hasina would be the one to take a decision on the alliance."
Badruddoza Chowdhury told reporters, "A grand alliance must exist."
He said he did not have any complaint over the stake of the Ershad-led JP in the alliance.
Hasanul Huq Inu said the ideology of the existing AL-led 14-party alliance was not against the Jatiya Party.
LDP leader Sheikh Razzak Ali said, "The grand alliance was not dissolved. A decision on the matter will be taken once Sheikh Hasina is home."

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