The BNP-led 20-party alliance does not have 20 components, thanks to the growing mistrust among the partners over the inactive leadership of BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman and the role of beleaguered Jamaat-e-Islami.
Insiders said many of the partners are severing the ties with the BNP due to its continuous ignorance on the tiny parties and lack of political commitments for public welfare.
“I don’t have any exact number how many political parties are in the 20-party alliance right now,” BNP standing committee member Iqbal Hassan Mahmud Tuku told the Daily Sun.
In the latest development, Khelafat Majlish quit the 20-party alliance bringing allegations of political inaction and forging another alliance under the banner of Jatiya Oikya Front.
Asked about quitting the alliance by some political parties, Tuku said it is the strategies of those respective political parties. “Quitting the alliance by any political party is not a significant matter for the BNP.”
Talking to the Daily Sun, some senior BNP leaders have acknowledged the growing mistrust over the leadership of Tarique, now staying in London after the 1/11 political changeover.
“It is true that some leaders of the alliance are unhappy over the leadership of Tarique Rahman due to his faulty political strategy. On the other hand, some other political parties also are unhappy with the BNP for keeping Jamaat in the alliance,” a senior leader of the 20-party alliance told the Daily Sun wishing not to be named.
“Khaleda Zia used to pay attention to us and accept our opinions. But Tarique ignores us and do not maintain the communication,” a top leader of the alliance said.
BNP insiders said the party high command was hurt in quitting alliance by some components who were active in the coalition for long and their step to forge a greater political unity also has been interrupted through this incident.
There are very few political parties in the 20-party alliance registered with the Election Commission and most of the political parties have no registration and no organsiational structure and most of the components of the alliance are also one-man show political party. Talking to the Daily Sun, a number of leaders said there are now only 15 political parties in the 20-party alliance while some of the existing components are only small chunk of small political parties.
“We formed the alliance with BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia. But in her absence, Tarique Rahman and some other senior leaders of the BNP are ignoring our opinion and kept the coalition almost dysfunctional. They actually want to use our public support during election,” another senior leader of the alliance said.
The BNP-led 20-party alliance leaders were unhappy for forging Jatiya Oikya Front by the BNP and they also think that the opposition faced debacle due to the strategy of Dr Kamal Hossain, coordinator of the Oikya Front.
On October 13 in 2018, Jatiya Oikya Front was formed with BNP, Gano Forum, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, and Nagorik Oikya under the leadership of Dr Kamal Hossain.
Talking to the Daily Sun, Oli Ahmed, chairman of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), said, “The 20-party alliance is not active now. There was no programme for long. BNP has to take step to make the alliance active.”
As the seventh political party, the Khelafat Majlish left the 20-party alliance while earlier Jamiate-ulamaye-Islam left the alliance on July 14 this year, citing a number of reasons, including not properly evaluating the coalition partners.
Andaleeve Rahman Partha, chairman of Bangladesh Jatiya Party (BJP), one of the key partners of the BNP-led 20-party alliance, quit the coalition on May 6 in 2019 for various reasons, including swearing in by seven MPs-elect of Jatiya Oikya Front.
On October 16 in 2018, Bangladesh National Awami Party (NAP) and National Democratic Party (NDP) and Bangladesh Labour Party left the 20-party Alliance.
Earlier, Islami Oikya Jote of Mufti Fajlul Haque Amini quit the alliance for what it said organisational interest on June 7 in 2016.
“The 20-party alliance is not active now. Before, joining the alliance BNP committed that they would meet our six demands, including quitting Jamaat, in phases but they didn’t meet our demands yet,” Haniful Kabir, senior leader of a faction of Bangladesher Samyabadi Dal said.
BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia formed the four-party alliance with Jamaat, Jatiya Party and Islami Oikya Jote in 1999.
Later, on April 18 in 2012, the alliance was extended into an 18-party alliance. And then the 18-party alliance was turned into a 20-party alliance.