Fear of new crisis forces BNP to put back council

Activists frustrated over slow-pace party reorganisation

Mohammad Al Amin

4th February, 2019 09:59:19 printer

The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) activists already frustrated due to the election debacle and snail pace progress in the party’s reorganisation, may face another set-back as it appears their much expected 7th national council session will be put back fearing a “new crisis” without its top two leaders.

BNP insiders told the Daily Sun that after facing the debacle in the 11th parliamentary election, the party leadership was faced with several demands from its workers and activists to revive the party which had ruled Bangladesh for 14 years since 1978.

The demands include party’s reorganisation, leadership reshuffle and holding of the 7th national council session. The party earlier held its sixth national council session on March 19 in 2016 and later formed its national executive committee, national standing committee and chairperson’s advisory council in phases for three years term. The party held its fifth national council session on December 8, 2009.

About the party’s 7th national council session, another BNP standing committee member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy told the daily sun on Monday that “We did not discuss the matters raised so far.”

BNP insiders said the party is unlikely to hold its national council session soon though many party leaders often say that they wanted immediate reorganisation, but a section of the party leaders think that holding the council session now would push the party towards fresh crisis without the presence of Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman. 

BNP standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain and Moudud Ahmed at a discussion programme of the party proposed the restructuring of its leadership, but it could only be done through the council.

Their comments immediately drew fire from the party insiders as most of the party leaders from central to grassroot levels, including acting chairman Tarique Rahman, are against holding the party’s 7th national council session as long as its chairperson Khaleda Zia is in jail, BNP sources said.

A senior leader of the party said the BNP high command has decided to reshuffle the standing committee and BNP chairperson’s advisory council by bringing in some new faces. They have also decided to form new committees of different units, fronts and associate organisations.

Talking to the Daily Sun, Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said they have already started the reorganization process at all levels. “We will reorganise in phases of those bodies of the party which needs fresh elections and then we will take a decision about the time of the council session.”

As part of their reorganization process, BNP has already dissolved old committees of its foreign affairs committee and different associate organisations, including Jatiyatabadi Ainjibi Forum and Doctors Association of Bangladesh (DAB).

BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman has assigned the party standing committee member Amir Khashru Mahmud Chowdhury to form a new foreign affairs committee soon.  Former foreign secretary, Riaz Rahman’s name is being discussed for the post of convener in the new committee.

A new convening committee of 161 members of the DAB also has been formed.  Farhad Halim Doner is heading committee as the convener and Obaidul Kabir Khan has been made the member secretary. It has been asked to form a full-fledged committee through central council within three months.

The BNP has initiated the process of choosing a new leadership for its lawyers front, the ‘Jatiyatabadi Ainjibi Forum,’ nearly ten years after the formation of its last committee. A convening committee headed by BNP standing committee member Jamiruddn Sircar has been formed.

Some central and grassroots leaders said the reorganization process of the party is going on very slowly and they feel that some of the party senior leaders are reluctant to reorganize the party. “Some senior leaders of the party are not happy with Tarique Rahman for choosing some incompetent, unpopular and opportunist persons for leadership,” said a central leader.

Some district and Upazila level leaders said they want BNP to reorganise its policymaking bodies a s well as different front and associate organisations with dedicated, loyal and courageous party men immediately to revive the party from its present “sorry state.”\

In its sixth national council session, some amendments to the party’s constitution were approved, but many of them were yet to be implemented. In the council session, the councilors also gave full authority to Khaleda Zia to form full-fledged committee of the party.

The councilors endorsed election of Khaleda Zia and her elder son Tarique Rahman as party chairperson and senior vice-chairman respectively. Later, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir was made secretary general on March 30, 2016.

After four months of the party’s 6th council session, BNP formed 502-member ‘jumbo-size’ national executive committee in phases. The formation of 502-mmber committee left many unhappy in the party.