SM Mizanur Rahman
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is passing through a critical juncture in its history after a humiliating debacle in the just concluded national election held on December 30.
Neither can the party mount pressure on ruling Awami League (AL) nor can it accept that inconceivable defeat in the polls. Amid such a situation, the party is still undecided about whether it should join the parliament or go to renew its anti-government movement.
As Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, on the other hand, is going to take an initiative to hold fresh dialogues with all political parties with which she took part in dialogues at several phases before the 11th national polls, BNP does not find any excuse, too, to skip the dialogue. As a result of all these, the party’s future action plan to rejuvenate its organizational activities in order to stay strong is going in vain too. Besides, instructions and orders issued by the party high command and Chairperson Khaleda Zia, now in jail, and Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman, now in London, are not being followed by a section of senior leaders of the party. Consequently, the mid-level and grassroots leaders have also become demoralised as they could not understand what they should do now.
Besides, BNP stalwarts are now blaming each other for the party’s massive defeat in the December 30 general election.
BNP’s leaders and workers across the country’s accused the stalwarts of their failure to frame time-befitting strategies in order to win the general election. Now the party is conducting various experiments to find out the reasons behind its huge defeat in the polls.
“Ignoring the grassroots and mid-level leaders’ opinions and suggestions, party’s senior leaders formed alliance with Oikyafront and allowed Jamaat to contest the general polls with the party’s electoral symbol ‘Sheaf of Paddy’. Such decisions led the party to a massive defeat,” a senior party leader said.
Some senior responsible leaders’ continuous efforts to pull foreign countries in their favour went in vain as they failed to devise appropriate strategies, a section of leaders said, terming it a big failure.
Apart from mid-level leaders, most of the senior leaders were also surprised to learn that Jamaat’s candidates would contest the national polls with ‘Sheaf of Paddy’.
And this message made the grassroots leaders and workers demoralised before the polls.
Besides, when the party had given nomination to weak and unpopular ones excluding the dedicated and popular leaders, the grassroots and mid-level leaders got frustrated and also became furious at such a suicidal decision of the party.
Moreover, BNP did not have honest, bold and popular leaders at many constituencies too. Candidates of those constituencies also failed to play strong roles in order to get people’s support. For this reason, the party failed to appoint its polling agents at most of the polling centres during the voting.
Party’s high command termed it a big failure, expressing grave resentment over the party’s senior leaders’ such immature and weak strategies.
Besides, leaked telephone conversations between party standing committee member Barrister Moudud Ahmed and Vice-Chairman Barkatullah Bulu made the split among the BNP stalwarts conspicuous.
During the conversations, the two leaders blamed party Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir for not giving them importance.
Meanwhile, members of standing committee, the party’s highest policymaking body, on Friday sat and discussed the party’s overall latest situation.
In the meeting, the standing committee members decided to evaluate the party’s past and present activities in order to devise future programme.
However, according to reliable sources, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman extended all-out support to Mirza Fakhrul and senior leaders. Both Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman asked the party leaders and workers not to be misguided but to continue the movement demanding reelection.
But many leaders, workers, well-wishers and intellectuals did not express their solidarity with Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman.
BNP’s joining the December 30 polls was a very positive sign but some senior leaders of the party failed to devise strategies and did some big mistakes. As a result, the party was massively rejected in December 30 general election.
Besides, BNP failed to understand the global politics as influential countries like USA, UK and other foreign countries did not respond to the party ahead of the national election.
When the foreign countries joined hands to root out militancy from the world, Awami League has proved before the world community that the BNP’s ally Jamaat maintains continuous relations with Pakistani militant groups.
According to BNP leaders, neighbouring India had requested BNP to sever ties with Jamaat when its Chairperson Khaleda Zia visited the country in 2012. But the party Chairperson Khaleda Zia did not pay heed to that request.
SM Mizanur Rahman