Jatiya Oikya Front, led by Gano Forum president Dr Kamal Hossain, has a hand in providing leaders of banned political party Jamaat-e-Islami with nomination of 20-party alliance for the upcoming parliamentary elections.
The Jamaat leaders securing the nomination has sparked controversy as the party is facing a ban imposed by the Election Commission following a High Court order that declared illegal its registration for its anti-liberation role in the war of independence in 1971.Several top Jamaat leaders, including its chief Matiur Rahman Nizami, were hanged for crimes against humanity during the war.
Twenty-five Jamaat leaders are vying for the December 30 elections with ‘sheaf of paddy’, the electoral symbol of BNP.
Analysts said Dr Kamal works as a ‘lobbyist’ of Jamaat and that is why he persuaded the BNP-led 20-party alliance agreed to give the party leaders nomination to contest the elections with ‘sheaf of paddy’.
Jatiya Oikya Front, an alliance of BNP and other opposition parties, was forged to contest the polls together to defeat the ruling Awami League-led grand alliance.
Dhaka University former vice-chancellor AAMS Arefin Siddique told the daily sun that BNP, Jamaat and Oikya Front have become united just to come to power.“They (Oikya Front leaders) have derailed from the spirit of the war of the independence. So, it is not a surprising matter,” he said.
“It can no way be said directly that a consensus has been made with Jamaat and Dr Kamal, but he must reach a consensus with BNP.”
“Reaching consensus with BNP means reaching a consensus with Jamaat,” he added.
JOF leaders repeatedly explain that they do not have any relations with Jamaat, an anti-liberation force that played its role against the country’s war of independence in 1971.
Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader has said recently that the Jatiya Oikya Front is being controlled from London.
“Oikya Front top leaders, including Dr Kamal Hossain, do not have any value in the alliance. BNP is using them,” he said.
“BNP has been staging puppet shows at the directive from Tarique Rahman. And Dr Kamal is a name-only leader in that alliance. That’s why he is not participating in the polls,” he said.
Gano Forum leader Mostafa Mohsin Montu reportedly said, “If the government wants, it can ban Jamaat-e-Islami. But, it refrains from doing so. Over 500 Jamaat men have joined Awami League through its senior leader Mahbub-ul Alam Hanif.”
Montu said that there is no party named Jamaat now.
“BNP hasn’t given Jamaat leaders nomination to contest the polls with ‘scale’ rather it has given ‘sheaf of paddy’. So, they are now BNP men, not Jamaat ones,” he said.
Krishak Sramik Janata League general secretary Habibur Rahman reportedly said that there was no party named Jamaat.
“But Jamaat leaders are the citizens of the country. Their citizenships are not revoked,” he said.
Over Jamaat’s men nomination, he said it was an internal matter of BNP whom they will give nomination or not.
“But, Oikya Front doesn’t have any relations with anti-liberation elements such as Jamaat,” he added.
The ruling alliance said the Jatiya Oikya Front has been maintaining relations with Jamaat since its inception. The front outspokenly refuted the allegation.
Experts say it seems apparently that JOF leaders have no relations with Jamaat, but BNP has a strong tie with Jamaat, a key partner of the BNP-led 20-party alliance.
The Jatiya Oikya Front is clearly dominated by BNP. So, Jamaat is an informal partner of the anti-government alliance, they say.
The Oikya Front was formed on October 13, comprising BNP, Gano Forum, Jatiya Oikya Prakriya, Nagarik Oikya and JSD (Rab).
Just after the formation of the alliance, Jamaat congratulated the move.
Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recently bitterly criticised Oikya Front leaders for joining hands with BNP-Jamaat which had unleashed mayhem and burnt people to death in the name of anti-government movement.
“Dr Kamal Hossain has joined hands with BNP and Jamaat which are involved with killing, corruption, terrorism and money laundering,” she said.
Against the criticism, Dr Kamal repeatedly said that his alliance has no relations with Jamaat and BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman.
Tarique, who is a convict in various cases, including 21 August grenade attack one, has been staying in London.
“The alliance has been forged to ensure free and fair election in Bangladesh,” Dr Kamal said.
During the last session of the 10th parliament, AL senior leader Tofail Ahmed alleged that Dr Kamal told a lie that he does not form any alliance with Tarique Rahman.
“What does Dr Kamal want to explain that he has no relations with Jamaat. He formed the alliance with BNP. And Tarique is the acting chairman of BNP and Jamaat is its major ally,” he said.
Awami League presidium member Mohammad Nasim claimed that Dr Kamal joined hands with anti-liberation elements to hatch conspiracy against the polls.
Leader of Jukta Front and Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh Mahi B Chowdhury said repeatedly that they have cut ties with Oikya Front as BNP is the main element of the alliance and has close relations with Jamaat.
“We have stepped out from the Oikya Front as they could not cut ties with Jamaat,” he said.