Though BNP is already in a tight corner amid the delay in the release of its chairperson Khaleda Zia from jail, the party doesn’t want to go for tougher movement soon.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir at a press conference recently alleged that the government is trying to provoke BNP so that it changes its stance for a peaceful movement. “But we won’t take that path.
We can assure you that we won’t fall into the trap,” he said.
Talking to the daily sun, BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed on Friday said, “What does tougher agitation mean? Is it a ransacking programme? We won’t take up such programmes. We will carry on our peaceful programme for the time being.”
Asked whether they will carry out the peaceful agitation programme till next general election, Moudud said “I’m not telling so. Temporarily, we will see what we can achieve through the peaceful movement and how much support we get from the people, particularly from the news media. After this, if the situation demands, we will consider the matter of taking up tougher agitation programme.”
BNP sources said with the suggestion from its acting chairman Tarique Rahman, the party senior leaders are now planning their next course of action and making their strategy to face the next political development as they already are considering that Khaleda Zia might not get released from jail before the next parliament election.
Talking to the daily sun, a number of BNP central leaders said the party now has a number of crucial agenda like realising their demand of election under a poll-time non-party government, ensuring the release of Khaleda Zia from jail and taking preparation to participate in the next polls to achieve victory.
A Special Judge Court-5 in Dhaka sentenced Khaleda to five years imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case and sent her to the old central jail on February 8. The appellate division of the Supreme Court on March 19 stayed till May 10 the High Court order that granted Khaleda bail for four months.
BNP is carrying out countrywide ‘peaceful’ protest programmes, demanding the release of its chief from jail. It has already held public rallies in Khulna and Chittagong cities and planning to hold the more public rallies in divisional and district headquarters including the capital in the same issue.
BNP leader Moudud Ahmed said now they will carry out their rallies in divisional headquarters and districts.
BNP is also trying to convince the foreign influential countries and organisations to create pressure on the government to release Khaleda Zia before the polls and to arrange the next election under a non-party government. After Khaleda’s imprisonment, the party senior leaders already briefed the foreign diplomats twice about her jailing and next election.
The party senior leaders also held a meeting on Monday evening to discuss their strategy and next course of action. Most of the party leaders emphasized on ensuring maximum participation of the party men in their programmes and carry out peaceful movement, BNP sources said.
BNP will hold meetings with top leaders of components of 20-party alliance on Saturday to discuss the next course of action before finalising this at another meeting of the BNP senior leaders, the sources added.
BNP insiders said the party has planned to rejuvenate the grassroots through carrying out mass contact programmes and to take the opinion of its grassroots-level leaders and activists about the next course of action in the prevailing situation.
The party has already formed 37 teams comprising central leaders, including members of the standing committee, vice-chairmen, advisers, and joint secretaries general and organising secretaries, who were asked to visit cities and districts and join workers’ meetings by April 10. The divisional organising secretaries will coordinate the meetings in cities and districts.
Talking to the daily sun, some central leaders of BNP said its senior leaders want to avoid confrontational and violent or tougher agitation programmes in a bid to create a positive impression on the public.
A BNP leader said, “Tarique Rahman and other senior leaders are now very much cautious and they do not want to step into any trap of confrontation or violence.”
BNP insiders, however, said the party top leaders are divided over the party’s next course of action. A group of leaders want to go for tough agitation programmes soon to realise their demands and resist any move to hold the election without Khaleda and Tarique. On the other hand, another section wants to join the polls anyway.
Talking to the daily sun, some BNP leaders said the party should follow a wait-and-see policy till the last moment and participate in the next parliamentary polls in any situation to keep their party strength intact.
A senior leader of BNP wishing not to be named said the government may arrange the next parliament election anytime before December this year keeping Khaleda Zia in jail. “BNP has to take a decision about joining the polls and waging movement immediately.”
Some BNP leaders said if BNP does not participate in the next general election keeping Khaleda Zia in jail then the government may try to ensure participation of a section of the BNP leaders in the election by splitting the party.