Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque on Thursday said imprisonment can’t bar idealistic politicians or patriots from doing politics if they want.
“A person can keep in touch even from jail. How can one's politics ever be stopped through imprisonment if the person is an idealistic politician, a patriot?,” he said when reporters drew his attention to the contradictory remarks made by some cabinet members over BNP leader Khaleda Zia’s participation in politics.
Razzaque was talking to reporters following a meeting with a delegation led by Pim Van Stryen, vice-chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands.
"We have to understand politics no matter what the law is. Had Iran's Khomeini's politics been stopped? Bangabandhu did do politics from jail. Would Bangabandhu have stop doing politics if there was a conviction against him?”
“I said it from that perspective. Politics can be done even in jail. That's what I told you. I say it again,” he added.
"This is how rebels and revolutionists do politics all over the world. Khaleda Zia will not be able contest the election because of the law. But will that stop her political thinking,” said the minister.
When asked why all the cabinet members cannot agree on the matter, the minister remained quiet for a while. He then said, "What are the cabinet colleagues saying? I didn't talk to them about this.”
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“Is Lalu Prasad stopping politics? (Late) Jayalalithaa was also responsible for corruption,” said the minister referring to the Indian politicians convicted and jailed for corruption.
About Awami League MP Sheikh Selim's statement in parliament that Khaleda Zia signed a bond on staying away from politics, Razzaque said, "I do not know whether Khaleda Zia gave such a bond. I know that Tarique Zia (Khaleda’s son) gave it. He gave it to the caretaker government before going abroad.”
When asked why the Awami League brought this issue to the fore 10 months before the election, the AL leader said, "It is not a very important issue. We think the amount of discussion about it is enough. I gave two examples of India.”