Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – Amit Shah, president of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday denied having called BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia, saying, he never talked to her.
Shah told this to the Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) over phone, rubbishing the claim made by Khaleda’s Press Secretary Maruf Kamal Khan that the BJP chief had called BNP chairperson and inquired about her health.
Earlier on Thursday, Khan at a press conference claimed BJP president called Khaleda on Wednesday, inquired about her physical condition and prayed for her quick recovery.
On Friday, India’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs too denied the matter, terming it as baseless.
“No. No. This is a fake news. I have no any contact outside,” Amit Shah told private television channel Ekattor while replying to a question if he hand telephone conversation with BNP chief Khaleda Zia.
Earlier on Thursday evening, BNP chairperson’s Press Secretary Maruf Kamal Khan at a press conference said Amit Shah called Khaleda at 10:30pm on Wednesday, inquired about her physical condition and prayed for her quick recovery.
Media outlets, both Indian and Bangladeshi, picked the story.
But Ekattor TV, quoting a highly placed diplomatic source, earlier on Friday reported that no such telephone conversation took place between Amit and Khaleda.
The TV report further said a phone call was made to the BJP leader from Khaleda Zia’s office, but no conversation could be held due to problems in the telephone line.
Later in the day, the ruling Awami League at an emergency press briefing at the party chief’s Dhanmondi office said the story of the phone call was made up by the BNP.
Rather, attempts were made from the BNP side two times to call Amit Shah, but Khaleda could not talk to him, said AL Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif, adding he had talked to the Indian high commission in Dhaka and became sure of it.
Following the Ekattor TV report and the AL’s allegation, Maruf issued a fresh press statement yesterday saying the media report that Amit Shah talked to Khaleda over telephone was “absolutely true”.
BBN/SSR/AD-10Jan15-9:01 pm (BST)