Candidates swap assassination claims

Dec. 26, 2008 at 1:06 AM
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DHAKA, Bangladesh, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Two former Bangladeshi prime ministers are trading accusations about alleged assassination plots against them in the lead-up to parliamentary elections.

The government denies there has been a security threat against Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia, the Indo-Asian News Service reported. Charges of conspiracy against the two candidates are being used as a campaign tactic in the Dec. 29 elections, the report said.

Hasina has accused Zia of engaging in "a drama" in connection with an alleged plot to attack her campaign rally with grenades. Hasina said the grenades were found miles away from the site of the rally -- and two hours after the meeting had ended.

"It is not clear why she (Zia) suddenly staged such a drama claiming grenades were meant for her," Hasina said at a campaign stop. "What does her claim mean? It should be looked into whether she wants to foil or keep off the elections."

Zia responded by saying the alleged plot against her was intended to force her to quit the campaign but she said she will stay in the race, and predicted she will win a two-thirds majority in the election.

Hasina said she was not afraid to be killed and called Zia a "patron of extremists." She accused Zia of "breeding, nursing and harboring extremists and killers."

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