Controversial aides

 

"He [president] picked them because they would remain loyal to him and can be used to manipulate the elections [due on January 23]," Hasina told reporters late on Tuesday.

 

Hasina accused Ahmed of bias towards rival Begun Khaleda Zia, the most recent prime minister, who ended her five-year tenure late in October.

   

Ahmed took over from Khaleda as head of an interim government in charge of running the country through the elections.

 

The four new aides were added to Ahmed's 10-member council of advisers to replace four others who resigned on Monday following differences over the deployment of army.

   

The president ordered the deployment on Saturday to assist the civil administration in the run-up to the polls, after 44 people were killed and hundreds injured in clashes between rival political activists in the previous six weeks.

 

Hasina's alliance has called for a siege of election offices all over the country on Thursday.