Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is unlikely to wage any movement this year to realise its demands, including constitution of the next Election Commission with ‘competent persons’ and holding the next general election under a polls-time neutral government, party insiders said.
It will also go alone keeping a safe distance from its main ally -- Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, they said.
However, they are unlikely to take to the street this year, the sources said, adding that the party will go for a movement next year.
BNP is now in disarray as its top leadership -- party Chairperson Khaleda Zia who was conditionally released from jail is staying at her city residence keeping herself away from politics and her elder son and party’s acting Chairman Tarique Rahman has been staying in London on political asylum.
Party leaders and activists are also frustrated for staying away from the state power for over a decade and not seeing any ray of hope soon, a number of party leaders said.
In this situation, Tarique Rahman along with some of the party’s senior leaders is trying to revive the party men and prepare it for the next parliamentary elections and waging a movement to realise their demands that also include the permanent release of the party chief, allowing her to go abroad for treatment, withdrawal cases filed against party leaders and activists.
“We’ve completed meetings with our party leaders, professionals and intellectuals. Now we’re analysing the proposals and suggestions of the party men made in the meetings. We’re also making a summary of the meetings. The BNP Standing Committee may discuss it in its next meeting,” BNP Standing Committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossaain told the Daily Sun.
Khandaker Mosharraf at a recent programme hinted that their party is trying to float a greater platform of opposition parties to wage a strong movement for ousting the current government. “We’ll create a greater united platform on one-point demand to restore democracy by ousting the current government through a strong mass movement,” he had said.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir at another programme urged people to get united, saying another ‘mass uprising’ like the 1990 one is imminent to ensure the fall of the Awami League government.
BNP insiders said at the end of December this year or beginning of the next year, the party will carry out activities across the country to mobilise public support over the reconstitution of the Election Commission with ‘competent persons’ and for waging a movement for the next general polls to be held under the non-party administration.
The party wants to mobilise public support and make grounds for the movement alone and will draw attention of other opposition political parties to join the movement.
However, BNP has no plan to part its way with Jamaat but it will keep a safe distance from the Islamist party as there is pressure from inside and outside the party to this end.
During this time, BNP will go alone without the components of the 20-party alliance and Jatiya Oikya Front, the party sources said.
Another central leader said the BNP Standing Committee under the leadership of Tarique Rahman will first analyse the suggestions and proposals of the party leaders made in the series meetings held in September and October and then they will decide their next strategy and course of action.
Pro-BNP professionals in their meeting on October 8-9 urged the party policymakers to mobilise public support in favour of the demand for holding the next general election under a non-party government.
They advised the BNP high command to avoid any violent programme, saying it will not be possible to lead any movement to success without the spontaneous support and involvement of common people, meeting sources said.
BNP began the series meetings on September 14 last to know the views of party rank and file and pro-BNP professionals about the party’s next course of action ahead of the next general election.
Tarique Rahman chaired the meetings while Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and some Standing Committee members, including Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, were present at the meetings.
The party central leaders in the series meetings proposed that the BNP high command cut ties with Jamaat, dissolves the combines - Jatiya Oikya Front and 20-party alliance -- and wage a movement alone.