Major opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) will go for a tough movement after talks with the like-minded political parties, demanding the next parliament election under election time non-party administration.
“Our movement is already going on for release of our [BNP] party chairperson Khaleda Zia and her treatment abroad. In our programmes, we are also raising other demands, including next general polls under non-party government. The current movement will gradually turn towards our demand of the polls-time non-party government,” BNP senior leader Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain told the Daily Sun.
The BNP leader said in meeting with opposition political parties, they will discuss various issues, including resignation of the incumbent Awami League government, holding next general election under election time non-party government and unconditional release of Khaleda Zia.
“Election will not be held free and fair under the party in power. That’s why we have already declared that we will not go to the President’s dialogue on Election Commission. The Awami League government will be compelled to resign and arrange polls under non-party government,” he added.
Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, standing committee member of BNP, said after the discussion with the political parties, an united greater platform will be formed with political parties, which will go for consensus with them for ‘restoration’ of democracy, human rights and citizens’ rights.
Asked whether they will sit in discussion with components of the ruling Awami League-led 14-party alliance, he said they will hold discussion first with the likeminded parties, then they will take next decision.
Earlier, BNP standing committee in its meeting held on January 3 took a decision that the party would hold discussion with political parties to discuss the current political context of the country.
In the mid-November last year, the BNP started movement demanding permanent release of Khaleda Zia and her better treatment abroad as the party observed hunger strike on November 20.
The party handed over memorandums to DCs across the country on November 23. The same day it also announced 8-day programmes from November 25 that continued till December 4.
Later, the BNP held rallies in 32 districts from December 22 to December 30 to force the government to allow its chairperson Khaleda Zia to go abroad. As per the announcement on January 5, the party will hold rallies in the remaining around 40 organising districts from January 12 to January 22 on the same issue. BNP insiders said the party is now taking preparations in full swing for their movement to realise their demand of election under a poll time non-party administration as they have planned to turn the ongoing movement towards their other demands, including polls-time non-party government, gradually.
In November last year, the BNP made a draft of their movement programmes that included rallies, human chain, hunger strike, distribution of leaflets across the country on various issues, including Khaleda Zia’s release and her treatment abroad, to revamp the party men and to drum up public support.
Talking to the Daily Sun, a central leader of the BNP wishing not to be named said the party high command has put emphasis on increasing programmes outside the Dhaka city at this moment in a bid to ensure public participation in their movement.
“BNP may also go for long-march and road-show programmes, and may hold big rallies in divisional cities and important districts gradually to drum up public support for their movement,” he added.
Sources inside the party further said the BNP after holding discussion with the political parties will finalise the next course of action and political strategy. “BNP may hold public rallies in divisional cities in April or May. Later, the party will hold a big public rally in the capital to announce tougher agitation programmes like blockade or siege programmes gradually in the middle of this year, to realise the demands,” another central leader said.
He, however, said the party’s programmes will also be finalised depending on the discussion with parties and previous discussion with its grassroots leaders held at the end of last year. “BNP will also consider the possible lockdown, which may be imposed by the government to contain coronavirus,” the BNP leader said.
BNP held series of meetings of the members and office bearers of central executive committee and grassroots leaders from September 14 to September 23 last year. It also held meetings with professionals from September 27 to October 9, 2021 to decide the party’s next political strategy.
Party insiders said alongside carrying on movement, the BNP is also trying to convince the foreign powers, including India and the United States, to gain support to their movement issues and to create pressure upon the government to realise their demands.
A team of the party leaders headed by its standing committee member Amir Khashru Mahmud Chowdhury has been working in Dhaka to increase the diplomatic ties while another group has been working in London to this end, the sources added.