Evaluating BNP, the political experts of the country said the way it started the year 2015, the same way BNP finished it with failures.
They said the bad patch chased the party throughout the year and it all happened for its ‘wrong political decisions and strategies’.
According to them, the party’s presence in the political field was largely invisible throughout the year as its most leaders and activists were either in jail or on the run following its three-month failed violent movement it waged early this year, UNB reports.
BNP had started the year with a plan to hold a rally with black flag in front of its Nayapaltan Central office on January 5 to observe the day as ‘Democracy Killing Day’ unlike Awami League that showcases it as ‘Democracy Saving Day’.
However, the party could not hold the programme as the government reportedly besieged its chief Khaleda at her Gulshan office on January 3 and locked BNP’s Nayapaltan central office.
Having failed to come out of her office on Januray-5, Khaleda declared a countrywide transport blockade demanding a fresh election.
The programme continued for 92 days amid widespread violence, including petrol bomb attacks, killing over a hundred people. Khaleda also spent the entire period at her Gulshan office facing an arrest warrant in two graft cases.
Finally, on April 5, she left her office for appearing before a special court to seek bail in the two graft cases. As the court granted her bail, she returned to her Gulshan residence unofficially ending the violent movement without any success.
During the movement, party’s most senior leaders, including acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, and thousands of grassroots leaders and activists were arrested in many violence cases while many of them went into hiding.
Later, her party joined the April-28 elections to Dhaka North Dhaka South and Chittagong city corporations, but it boycotted halfway through during the voting bringing widespread allegations of vote rigging, capturing of polling stations and forcing out BNP agents.
The elections clearly exposed the party’s Dhaka City unit’s serious weakness as the party could not even ensure the presence of its agents in most polling centres, let alone resisting vote fraud.
After boycotting the election, Khaleda decided to overhaul her party.
On August 9, BNP joint secretary general M Shahjahan sent a letter to its grassroots leaders to complete formation of the committees of the party’s all upazila, pourasva, ward and union units by September 30. But, the party failed to do it in most districts.
Amid the party’s overhauling process, Khaleda went to London on September 15 for a week, but she stayed there over two months and returned home on November 21.
On November 25, the party decided to join the December-30 municipal polls as the party find it as a good option to prove its popularity. But the party candidates came out successful in only 22 municipalities.
On December 21, the BNP chief also sparked off criticisms by making comments on the number of people martyred during the Liberation War.
Pro-BNP professional and ex-DU VC Prof Emajuddin said BNP has made some mistakes and the party is also paying heavily for that. “But, it won’t be justified only to blame BNP. BNP’s failure is also national one as there’s no democracy and effective institution in the country.”
He said BNP made a blunder by resorting to violence during its over three-month movement early this year, which not only dented the party’s mage, but also caused immense sufferings to its leaders and activists.
He also said Khaleda Zia’s comment over the number of martyrs of the Liberation War was unnecessary that only has given its opponents the scope to criticise the party.
He suggested BNP to reorganise the party and work out strategies to revitalise its frustrated leaders and activists alongside doing politics on national interests not only for going to power.
DU’s another ex-VC SMA Fayez said, “BNP had to undergo various tests all over the year. Its leadership had a chance to prove their political prudence, but failed in most cases.”
Big parties, he said, may have problems but they should have effective strategies to overcome those. “BNP has to work out well thought-out plans and do systematic politics to get over its current feeble position.”
Asked how he will evaluate the year 2015, BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said, “The year was bad not only for BNP, but also for the country. Our leaders and activists had to endure immense suffering, harassment, repression throughout the year. Many of our leaders and activists were killed made disappeared and arrested.”
He said their party has been on a movement for restoration of democracy. “You can’t say we’ve failed. It’s not so easy to be successful while fighting against an autocratic regime. It may take time, but we’ll one day surely be successful.”
About the party overhauling, he said they could not complete it due to the country’s prevailing situation. It’s very difficult to carry out political activities now. Despite that, we’re reorganising our grassroots.
About their party’s defeat in city and municipal polls, he said though apparently their candidates lost in the stage-managed elections, BNP achieved a ‘political victory’.