Monday, 5 June, 2023

Disagreement with Partners

BNP’s simultaneous movement thrust into uncertainty

BNP’s simultaneous movement with other opposition political parties is in doubt due to differences of opinion among the top leaders of the party and its like-mined parties over the joint declaration on the agitation.

Insiders say the top leaders of the opposition alliance have failed to reach a conclusion over the joint declaration.

While BNP wants to incorporate only the demands and state reform proposals it rolled out earlier in the joint declaration, its like-minded parties seek to add some others with those. This has led to disagreement among them.

Asked about the joint declaration of their simultaneous movement, BNP Standing Committee member Nazrul Islam Khan, also a member of the party’s liaison committee, declined to make any comment.

BNP has been carrying out various programmes simultaneously with its like-minded opposition political parties since December last in the run-up to the joint movement.

The major opposition party declared a 10-point demand, including resignation of the current Awami League government and holding of the next general election under an election-time caretaker government, from its Dhaka rally held on December 10 last while rolled out a 27-point state reform formula on December 19 to bring changes to the country’s governance system in a bid to ensure checks and balances in power.

After the announcement of the 10-point demand, its allies extended their support to the demands while Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami also declared a 10-point demand, almost similar to that of BNP, and Ganatantra Mancha, a six-party alliance, declared a 14-point demand and simultaneous movement with BNP.

Later, BNP and its like-minded political parties and alliances, including the Ganatantra Mancha, decided to come up with a joint declaration on the simultaneous movement.

They also formed liaison committees of the respective parties and alliances to coordinate the matter.

Although BNP earlier wanted to go ahead with its own 27-point state reform proposal and 10-point demand, they held a number of meetings with the Ganatantra Mancha liaison committee and other like-minded opposition alliances and parties to finalise the declaration amid pressure from the partners.

The BNP Standing Committee held a meeting with its acting Chairman Tarique Rahman in the chair on May 9 and drafted an outline for their anti-government movement without fixing any specific date for launching it, meeting sources said.

At the same time, the party’s highest policymaking body discussed the issue of finalising the joint declaration of their simultaneous movement but they could not pass the declaration due to the differences of opinion among the BNP policymakers over the issue.

BNP insiders said the party Standing Committee in their meeting discussed a 35-point reform proposal for running the state and a 14-point demand for the movement placed by the Ganatantra Mancha.

However, a number of party policymakers did not agree to retreat from their own 10-point demand and 27-point reform proposal.

After declaring the 10-point demand and 27-point reform proposal, BNP carried out campaign across the country to mobilise public support and it also thinks that people accepted their proposals.

“That’s why the party leaders think that BNP shouldn’t retreat from the 27-point proposal and 10-point demand. BNP should implement the issue. Standing Committee members also viewed that other proposals of the Gantantra Mancha may be included as sub section,” a senior leader said.

As per the decision of the meeting, the party is going to restart its anti-government movement in full swing from May 20 as it has decided to hold rallies in all districts and then they will declare a road-march programme and at one stage will hold the Dhaka siege programme, he added.

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir will declare the party’s next course of action from its protest rally scheduled to be held in front of its Nayapaltan central office today.

At the party’s Standing Committee meeting, BNP also decided to sit again with the leaders of the Ganatantra Mancha to finalise the joint declaration and make it public soon, the meeting sources said.

Under the situation, the plan of the opposition parties to roll out the joint declaration by May 15 will certainly be delayed, BNP and Ganatantra Mancha sources said.

“The simultaneous movement will definitely be hampered due to such behaviour of BNP as the party leaders in several meetings earlier assured us of no discord with the Ganatantra Mancha about the movement. But at the end, they’re playing a different role now,” a leader of the Ganatantra Mancha said.

The Ganatantra Mancha sources said discontent has already grown among the leaders of the coalition due to the delay in announcement of the joint declaration and some leaders of the coalition have also expressed their desire not to join the simultaneous movement.

“There’ll be some delay in rolling out the joint declaration. We have to hold more meetings on the issue to finalise the declaration,” Saiful Huq, coordinator of the Ganatantra Mancha, told the Daily Sun. 

BNP Vice-Chairman Mohammad Shahjahan, also a member of the party’s liaison committee, said he does not know anything about the joint declaration.