DHAKA, Aug. 10, Reuter: President Hossain Mohammad Ershad, who last week weathered a concerted opposition campaign against his rule, has shrugged off fears that Bangladesh is facing a political crisis.

“There is no political crisis here in this country at the moment. What we have is some hullabaloo here and there”, he told a meeting of his ruling Jatiya party yesterday.

He made the statement following reports that he might reshuffle his Cabinet later today. An opposition led general strike virtually brought Bangladesh to a halt for 54 hours last week.

Twenty one opposition parties staged the stoppage as part of a campaign aimed at forcing Ershad to resign because they say; he is running a military dictatorship behind the facade of a democracy.

Ershad ridiculed the strike as a “big fun and game” which he said could never change a government.

“Here I am, standing tall, in spite of the so-called hartal (strike). Why should I go? I was voted by the people to be here”, he said.

Ershad’ ended nearly five years of military rule and restored democracy after winning a Presidential election last November.

The Opposition says he won the election by fraud and with police and military connivance.

Ershad’ described the Jatiya Party as “the largest political institution in the country”, but acknowledged that it could not be effective because some of its leading members lacked sincerity.

A Presidential aide told Reuters Ershad might reshuffle his Cabinet “any time, maybe tonight”. He gave no other details.

Article extracted from this publication >>  August 14, 1987