Losing its strength to go for any race with Awami League, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is now apparently trying to make compromise with the ruling party to survive in the country’s political arena.
As part of the compromising approach, the opposition party on February 24 announced a programme for March 7 when Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had delivered his historic speech at Racecourse Maiden in the capital in 1971.Responding to BNP’s announcement of the programme, AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader the following day said it would have a positive impact on the country's political environment.
Welcoming the decision on behalf of the ruling party, he said: "Those who had barred the observance of the historic March 7 for so long will now observe the day! Awami League welcomes the decision. I think it’ll create a positive political environment in the country."
Speaking at a views-exchange programme with journalists on February 27, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said their party considers Bangabandhu’s March-7 speech part of history of the War of Liberation.
"We won’t just observe March 7, but also March 2, March 3…these incidents are part of the history of the Liberation War. How can we deny history?” he said.
The BNP leader said, “The speech of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is surely part of history (of the Liberation War) and we must give him the honour and dignity he deserves.”
The party on February 27 also invited Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to join the inaugural function of its month-long programme to be held at Lakeshore Hotel in the capital on March 1 to celebrate the golden jubilee of the country’s independence.Following such a development, questions have arisen inside BNP whether the party is now going to make compromise with the ruling party.
Asked about their stand, BNP Standing Committee member Jamiruddin Sircar told the Daily Sun, “We aren’t doing the politics of compromise but we’re with the truth and facts. We don’t want any compromise with the government but only want free and fair elections.”
Party insiders said at the directive of BNP acting Chairman Tarique Rahman who has been staying in London, its senior leaders have taken the decision to make the compromise with the ruling party in a bid to survive in the country’s political arena.
Though BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia did not agree to go for any compromise with Awami League and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Tarique who is currently running the party as his mother is ‘inactive’ in politics has changed the strategy.
Talking to the Daily Sun, some central leaders of BNP said as per the desire of Tarique, Khaleda’s family members appealed to the government for her release from jail and she is now staying at her Gulshan residence after getting conditional release from jail by the government’s executive order.
The BNP leaders and Khaleda’s family members have also urged the government to allow her to go abroad for better medical treatment.
“The party is now crippled with manifold problems as it has been staying away from power for around a decade. Party candidates are being defeated in most of the elections and it’s struggling to survive in the politics,” a central leader said, wishing anonymity.
He further said the party cannot hold its programmes smoothly anywhere in the country for various reasons while the party men have been on the run as they were implicated in cases.
“In such a situation, it’s tough to carry out normal political activities while the party men have also become frustrated. So, there’s no alternative but to go for the compromise with ruling Awami League in a bid to stay on the street. If we can survive in politics, we can go ahead in time,” the BNP leader added.
BNP sources said the party was highly criticised and it lost support of many people due to its role against Bangabandhu. But the party now wants to bring a check and balance through paying respect to Bangabandhu and making their position clear about the War of Liberation.
The opposition party at the same time desires to take to the street to press home their demands, without any obstruction from the government.
However, a faction of the party leaders is unhappy with the party’s new strategy to make compromise with the ruling party as they want to go for a tougher movement against the government to realise their demands.
“Though the party high command wants to go for compromising politics, huge leaders and activists, including grassroots ones, are against any compromise with the government,” said a central leader.