Nobel winner enters Bangladesh poll

Muhammad Yunus, 'banker to the poor', is to launch a political party.

    Bangladesh was paralysed by weeks of protests and blockades in January [AFP]
    The election officials have since resigned and the interim administration - which is backed by the military - has launched an anti-corruption drive.
     
    'Dangerous elements'
     
    Bangladeshis greeted Yunus's Nobel prize with great joy and national pride, but it is too early to say if he can translate that popularity into politics.
     
    Last week Yunus urged Bangladeshis, through an open letter, to give their opinion on whether he should get involved in politics and launch a party.
     
    His associates said the response had been "enormously positive";
    Yunus said his party would contest the next parliamentary election, a date for which has yet to be set.
     
    "We will immediately form committees in every village of the country to propagate the emerging venture and muster support for me in politics," Yunus said on Sunday.
     
    "There is no way I can stay away from politics any longer. I am determined...and it does not matter who says what about me," said the nobel laureate, apparently about adverse reactions from some political leaders.
     
    Sheikh Hasina, chief of the Awami League and a former prime minister, said on Saturday that "sudden newcomers in politics are dangerous elements and are to be viewed with suspicion".
     
    Moudud Ahmed, a senior leader of Bangladesh Nationalist Party and former law minister in the government of past premier Begum Khaleda Zia, was more cautious.
     
    "He [Yunus] is welcome in politics. I wish him success, but personally I feel he would be better off if he didn't make this venture," Moudud said on Sunday.

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