BNP’s initiative for forging a greater political unity with other parties outside its 20-party alliance to wage a joint movement for realising its demands is suffering a setback.
The party has long been trying to forge a national unity to wage a combined movement against the Awami League-led government to realise its demands, including release of party chairperson Khaleda Zia from jail and holding of the 11th parliamentary elections under a neutral administration.
BNP is approaching other political parties and alliances, including Jukta Front and Jatiya Oikya Prokriya and a number of personalities, to make it happen.
On September 15, Jukta Front and Jatiya Oikya Prokriya -- two political alliances of small parties -- declared their unity at a press conference.
BNP’s relationship with Jamaat-e-Islami, ‘excessive’ demand from ‘small’ political parties for sharing power and seats in the next national election and difference of opinion over strategy of movement are some of the main reasons that impede the progress in forging a greater political unity, BNP and Jukto Front sources said.
At a meeting of the Jukto Front and Jatiya Oikya Prokriya on September 25, where a BNP representative stayed their scheduled task for formation of a liaison committee for the ‘national unity’ and decided to take further decision in this regard after seeing BNP’s demands and goals placed in the major opposition’s public rally on Sunday, that surfaced differences among the parties.
At the meeting, Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh placed their decision that BNP will not be allowed in the national unity until it sever ties with Jamaat- its key ally.
BNP won’t get place on the dais of national unity until it declares that it will sever ties with the party of anti-liberation forces, the BDB sources said.
BNP did not invite leaders of its allies of 20-party alliance, Jukto Front and Jatiya Oikya Prokriya to their public rally held at the Suhrawardy Uddyan in the capital on Sunday.
This made leaders of the allies unhappy while Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh, a component of the Jukto Front led by its president AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury, also held a separate rally at Banani Chairman Bari field the same day.
A top leader of Jukto Front said BNP leaders did not invite them to the public rally and they also did not discuss with the leaders of Jukto Front that it would arrange the public rally alone.
BNP leaders attended a citizens’ meeting of the Jatiya Oikya Prokriya at Mohanagar Natya Manch on September 22.
Addressing the Sunday’s public rally, BNP Standing Committee Member Mirza Abbas said the government is trying to foil the initiative for forging national unity.
“If national unity is forged then it is good if it is not forged then there is no problem. BNP will continue its movement to realise the demands,” he added.
At the same programme, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, another BNP standing committee member, said BNP is always ready for unity.
“The parties that have no activists will be condemned by people, if they create pressure on BNP and play the tune of disunity. Even the devils those will join movement are our friends,” he added.
“BNP can’t say no to anyone those will fight for democracy,” Gayeshwar said.
BNP Acting Chairman Tarique Rahman directed party Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir to forge the greater political unity even sacrificing something. But if other parties create extra burden of demands on BNP, then it will continue its movement alone on the street.
Talking to the daily sun, some BNP leaders said the party is reluctant to sever ties with Jamaat as the Islamist party is very much active on street and has a vote bank.
The greater unity process is also suffering a setback as some recent incidents have exposed the differences between the two top leaders- Badruddoza Chowdhury and Dr Kamal Hossain- over egoism, personal interest, liking and disliking for the parties of the two alliances—Jatiya Oikya Prokriya and Jukto Front.
At a meeting on September 24, leaders of Jukto Front questioned Dr Kamal’s interview with BBC Bangla service, in which Kamal said that in principle he had no objection to take part in the next general election under the present government but Kamal told that it was ‘distorted’ information, said a Jukto Front leader.
A cold war also continued between Dr Kamal and Badruddoza over the leadership, but Jukto Front and Jatiya Oikya Prokriya decided to advance the process under the joint leadership of the two top leaders, said a leader of the process.
Jukto Front chairman Badruddoza did not attend the press conference organised at the National Press Club on September 15 for the joint declaration of Jatiya Oikya Prakriya and Jukto Front.
The press conference was informed that Badruddoza suddenly fell sick on his way to the programme.
On August 28, top leaders, including Badruddoza and Dr Kamal, at a meeting at the latter’s house decided that they would jointly lead the process for the greater national unity in the present critical juncture of the nation, Badruddoza told the media about the decision of the meeting.
“Finally, the national unity process is going on at snail’s pace,” a senior leader of the Jukto Front told the daily sun, wishing anonymity.
Dr. Kamal Hossain suddenly went to Bangkok on September 26 night and his party sources confirmed that he would not return to the country before October 6. But on September 22, he had vowed to launch a greater movement if their demands were not met by September 30.
Talking to the daily sun, ABM Mostafa Amin, member secretary of the Jatiya Oikya Prokria, on Monday said after Kamal’s returning home the initiatives for forging the ‘national’ unity will get pace and then they will talk to BNP to take it forward.