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THE HINDU Editorial Vocabulary- February 13, 2018 - Topic 2

BNP in a bind: On Khaleda Zia's conviction
The sentencing of former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia to five years of rigorous imprisonment by a special judge’s court in Dhaka on charges of corruption has upended politics in an election year. Her arrest and possible disqualification from contesting — unless higher courts decide otherwise — has created a political crisis for her Bangladesh Nationalist Party, and equally a challenging opportunity for the ruling Awami League. 
The BNP is entirely dependent for leadership on the Zia family. With Ms. Zia’s son Tarique Rahman, who has been named the acting chairperson of the party, in exile in London after being convicted in another corruption case in 2016, the BNP is caught in a bind. Elections are scheduled for December 2018, and even before Ms. Zia’s conviction the party was struggling. The BNP had boycotted the previous elections in 2014, practically allowing the Awami League a walkover. It was, in hindsight, a questionable strategy. Since 2014 the BNP has suffered significant erosion in its organisation. Besides Ms. Zia being embroiled in dozens of corruption cases, party activists have also been hauled up in several cases. Ms. Zia is expected to appeal the judgment, and could be eligible to contest elections after release on bail — but the conviction will weigh heavily on her party’s fortunes.
Bangladeshis will hope the BNP gets its act together, because the withdrawal of the party from the electoral fray has not been beneficial for democracy. While it did not make tactical sense for the BNP to boycott polls in 2014, the consequent victory by walkover did not help the Awami League to assert its legitimacy. In what is effectively a two-party polity, the absence of the BNP as an opposition within Parliament had externalised dissent and led right-wing forces to up their intimidatory tactics to attack liberal, secular voices. Since the end of dictatorship in 1990, Bangladesh alternated between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League and Ms. Zia’s BNP, with short interregnums of army and judicial rule, till the League’s re-election in 2014. The two parties have battled in a vituperative game, each trying its best to muzzle the other while in power and the party in opposition preferring the street to the legislature to make its presence felt. Attempts to build a third force or project a different set of leaders from among these two leading parties have so far come to naught. Keeping this in mind, the Awami League government should be cautious about being seen to be interfering in the judicial process in Ms. Zia’s cases. If Ms. Zia is allowed to contest elections, pending her appeal to a higher court, the Awami League should welcome the contest.
Rigorous: extremely thorough, exhaustive, or accurate.
Example: The rigorous testing of consumer products
Synonyms: meticulous, conscientious, punctilious, careful, diligent
Antonyms: undemanding, inexact

Exile: the state of being barred from one's native country, typically for political or punitive reasons.
Example: He knew now that he would die in exile
Synonyms: banishment, expulsion, expatriation, deportation

Opportunity: a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.
Example: We may see increased opportunities for export
Synonyms: chance, lucky chance, favorable time/occasion/moment, time

Conviction: a firmly held belief or opinion.
Example: His conviction that the death was no accident
Synonyms: belief, opinion, view, thought, persuasion, idea, position
Antonyms: acquittal

Boycot: withdraw from commercial or social relations with a country, organization, or person as a punishment or protest.
Example: The Israeli academic establishment boycotted him.
Synonyms: spurn, snub, shun, avoid, abstain from, wash one's hands of, turn one's back on

Embroil: involve someone deeply in an argument, conflict, or difficult situation.
Example: She became embroiled in a dispute between two women she hardly knew
Synonyms: involve, entangle, ensnare, enmesh, catch up, mix up, bog down, mire
Antonyms: disconnect, disentangle, distinguish, explicate

Appeal: an application to a higher court for a decision to be reversed.
Example: He has 28 days in which to lodge an appeal
Synonyms: retrial, re-examination
Antonyms: avoid, cut, elude, ignore, overlook, pass

Fray: a situation of intense activity, typically one incorporating an element of aggression or competition.
Example: Nineteen companies intend to bid for the contract, with three more expected to enter the fray
Synonyms: affray, animosity, bitterness, brawl, broil

Consequent: following as a result or effect.
Example: Labor shortages would be created with a consequent increase in wages
Synonyms: resulting, resultant, ensuing, consequential, following, subsequent
Antonyms: antecedent

Legitimacy: conformity to the law or to rules.
Example: Refusal to recognize the legitimacy of both governments
Synonyms: authenticity, genuineness
Antonyms: illegitimacy

Externalise: give external existence or form to.
Example: Elements of the internal construction were externalized onto the facade
Synonyms: exteriorize, throw, see, protrude, design

Vituperative: bitter and abusive.
Example: The criticism soon turned into a vituperative attack
Synonyms: abusive, scolding, ranting, invective, censorious
Antonyms: uncritical

Cautious: careful to avoid potential problems or dangers.
Example: A cautious driver
Synonyms: careful, heedful, attentive, alert, watchful, vigilant, circumspect
Antonyms: tearaway, immoderate, madcap, hotheaded

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