Wives of BNP leaders ‘avoid’ Indian sarees, claims Rizvi

Rizvi said his wife received an Indian saree from his uncle, which was later used for Kantha

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 28 March 2024, 02:13 PM
Updated : 28 March 2024, 02:13 PM

BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi has said that usually, the wives of the party’s leaders refrain from buying Indian sarees in response to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's challenge to show their commitment to boycotting Indian products by burning their wives' Indian sarees.

He made the statement during an event at the BNP Chairperson's office in Gulshan on Thursday.

Last week, Rizvi said: “India does not support the people of Bangladesh, but the Awami League. This is why people are venting their anger by boycotting Indian products. They enthusiastically protest through the ‘Bharat Hotao’ [India Out] campaign.”

The plot thickened with his symbolic act when he threw his Kashmiri shawl into the flames in solidarity with the boycott campaign.

Some of the top BNP leaders have confirmed to bdnews24.com that their policymakers did not discuss any boycott of Indian products. They said they were unaware of Rizvi’s plan to burn the Kashmiri shawl.

Some BNP activists, however, carried placards calling for a boycott of Indian products at a rally outside their headquarters in Naya Paltan on Monday.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina challenged BNP leaders to demonstrate their commitment to boycotting Indian products by setting the Indian sarees of their wives on fire.

She said: “A BNP leader has burnt his shawl. How many Indian sarees do the wives of these BNP leaders have? I saw BNP ministers’ wives selling sarees imported from India before Eid.”

“If the BNP leaders have truly boycotted Indian products, they will burn their wives’ Indian sarees.”

“They must answer if they can eat without Indian spices. I want to know if they have truly boycotted Indian products.”

Rizvi denied the allegations, saying, "My maternal grandfather's home is in India, where I visited once after my marriage, and my younger uncle gifted my wife a saree."

He further explained, "However, when I asked about it later, my wife said that she had turned the saree into a Kantha, a traditional quilt, as is common practice for old sarees in Bangladesh."

Rizvi also commented that Hasina "made a joke about the interests of the country" by mocking BNP leaders.

The fiery riposte from the prime minister is likely to set the political stage ablaze, after a section of opposition party leaders expressed solidarity with an online campaign to boycott Indian products amidst a backdrop of escalating tensions over India's position on Bangladesh's Jan 7 general elections.

India, through its foreign ministry and the High Commission in Dhaka, has maintained that it always supports a peaceful and democratic election, as expected by the people, in Bangladesh.

Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader said last Saturday that due to India's support, many powerful countries refrained from meddling in Bangladesh’s domestic affairs, including the election.

The BNP stayed away from the polls because its demands for the resignation of the Sheikh Hasina administration and the installation of an election-time caretaker government system went unmet.