BNP faces ‘imminent split’

Mohammad Al Amin

16 December, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) faces an ‘imminent split’ as a faction of leaders is likely to quit the party for what they say lack of proper leadership in the absence of its Chairperson Khaleda Zia at the helm.

Tension is running high in the party after a few central leaders, led by a standing committee member and a vice-chairman, recently became active in rejuvenating the party keeping aside Khaleda Zia and incumbent acting Chairman Tarique Rahman.

It escalated after two BNP vice-chairmen were served show-cause notices for breaching the party discipline.

However, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir denied any conflict in the party. “There’s no problem inside our party now,” he told the Daily Sun on Tuesday.

Wishing not to be named, a central BNP leader said some leaders are trying to reorganise the party and forge an anti-government movement even without the consent of Tarique Rahman. “That’s why, Tarique has got angry with them and he may take action against them.”  

BNP on Monday served show-cause notices on its two vice-chairmen -- Major (retd) Hafizuddin Ahmed, who is known as a reformist leader inside the party, and Shawkat Mahmud -- for breaching the party discipline.

About the reason behind the show-cause notices, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi told the Daily Sun on Monday night that they breached the party discipline

They were asked to reply to the notices within 72 hours, he said.

“I received the show-cause notice from the party. It hurt me much. I’ve long been holding a vital post in the party for long. I can’t expect it from the party. However, I’ll give reply to it through a press conference day after tomorrow (Thursday),” Hafizuddin said while talking to the Daily Sun on Tuesday.

Asked whether he is going to quit the party, he said, “I’m thinking about whether to stay or not.”

Replying to a question whether any other BNP leader will follow his decision, Hafizuddin said time has not come yet to say anything in this regard.

Asked about the show-cause notices served on the two leaders, Fakhrul expressed his ignorance to this end, advising this correspondent to contact the party office.

Sources inside BNP said some of the party leaders, led by Hafizuddin, might quit the party or they might be expelled from the party for revolting against Tarique Rahman and making efforts to reorganise the party without his consent.

A large number of party leaders are unhappy with Tarique Rahman for his weak leadership and failure in waging any strong movement to realise party’s various demands, they said, adding that that is why they do not want his leadership in the party.

On Monday, Sammilita Peshajibi Parishad organised a discussion at the Jatiya Press Club in the capital with pro-BNP intellectual Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury in the chair.

BNP Vice-chairmen Khandaker Mahbub Hossain and Shawkat Mahmud, Kalyan Party Chairman Syed Muhammad Ibrahim and Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna joined the programme.

Once the programme was over, some activists of the party and its allies brought out a protest procession and staged demonstrations at the Zero Point demanding resignation of the incumbent government without any directive of the party high command.

Shawkat Mahmud also joined the demonstration which was dispersed by law enforcers.

BNP sources said it was the initiative of a faction of the party’s central leaders who do not want to follow the directives of Tarique Rahman in running the party activities and they are also reorganising the party to forge an anti-government movement without him.

They said 2-3 standing committee members are working for the initiative from behind the scene minus Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman.

Hafizuddin, Shawkat Mahmud, Ishtiaq Aziz Ulfat, Sadek Ahmed Khan, Selim Bhuiyan, Taimur Alam Khandaker are, among others, involved in process, the sources added.

Talking to the Daily Sun, a central BNP leader said leaders of a few components of the 20-party alliance and Jatiya Oikya Front also want the initiative to succeed as they seek to forge an anti-government movement skipping Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman.