DHAKA: The efforts by opposition political parties in Bangladesh to form a joint front against the ruling Awami League suffered a setback on Saturday after differences emerged between the proposed alliance's two key leaders.
Just before the announcement of the framework of greater national unity, the two leaders called separate media briefings instead of their planned joint appearance before the press.
Bikalpadhara Bangladesh chief and former president Badrudoza Chowdhury and noted lawyer Ksamal Hossain of Gano Forum had initiated the process for forging the unity a year ago.
A rift has developed between the two over the inclusion of fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami and the role of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in the alliance.
Senior BNP leaders joined Hossain's press conference at the National Press Club while Chowdhury held the briefing at his Baridhara residence saying "we are trying to keep the unity of the (proposed) opposition combine".
Chowdhury said he went to Hossain's residence to join the planned meeting but found his house locked.
Hossain, on the other hand, made no mention of Chowdhury in his statement where he said "their unity is aimed to forge the national solidarity".
But Chowdhury said "no unity is possible" unless the Jamaat was discarded and equitable stake of all the parties was ensured if the opposition alliance was elected to the next government.