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Bumpy road ahead for Oikya Front?

  • Published at 12:05 am June 18th, 2019
WEB_Jatiya Oikya Front_Mehedi Hasan
File photo: From left, Jatiya Oikya Front's top leaders Kader Siddique, ASM Abdur Rab, the platform's chief Dr Kamal Hossain and Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir at a rally in Dhaka Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Not only is it nowhere near its plan, the platform led by eminent jurist Dr Kamal Hossain, is also facing issues with its major ally

Despite being floated to confront the ruling Awami League-led Grand Alliance before the 11th parliamentary elections, for a healthy political contest, Jatiya Oikya Front has been facing various struggles to meet its goals.

Not only is it nowhere near its plan, the platform led by eminent jurist Dr Kamal Hossain, is also facing issues with its major ally, BNP.

According to platform insiders, the distance between BNP and key players of the platform, has been widening. The situation worsened on April 29 after five BNP leaders took oath as lawmakers, despite the platform’s decision to boycott the poll results and refraining from sending their leaders to parliament. 

Apart from this, BNP is also having a bad time with many of its members from the BNP-led 20-party alliance over numerous internal matters.

In the latest turn of events on June 10, several Oikya Front leaders vowed to expand the alliance further. BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, JSD President ASM Abdur Rab, and Krishak Sramik Janata League President, Abdul Kader Siddique, attended the meeting, interestingly with Dr Kamal absent.

Asked why he did not join the last meeting, Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna said: “I skipped it as it did not seem important to me.

Expressing his resentment over BNP leaders joining parliament, Manna said: “BNP is yet to give an explanation in this regard. So, I don’t believe there can be any fruitful discussions with BNP.”

Kader Siddique also expressed his disappointment with BNP refraining from explaining the reason for its leaders taking oath as parliamentarians, Manna added.

Manna went on to say the Oikya Front is failing to advance as expected since the roles of leaders and allied parties were not defined.

“None of the leaders do homework before a meeting. Most of the meetings are held to criticise rather than generate plans for the future,” he said.  

Dr Kamal, president of Gano Forum, on June 6 said the platform is not heading towards a split. Oikya Front’s previous meeting was held on April 24. Since then, however, its leaders did not sit in a meeting until June 10. Just 17 days after the national election, Oikya Front held a meeting in the absence of key party leaders, to decide on holding a national dialogue for fresh elections.

Islami Oikya Jote Senior Vice-Chairman, Maulana Abdur Rakib, said Oikya Front fell into crisis after Andaleeve Rahman Partho-led Bangladesh Jatiya Party severed ties with BNP-led 20-party alliance in May.

“Those representing the alliance at Oikya Front meetings do not tell us about their agendas,” he said.

He also said that as BNP has been a member of both the 20-party alliance and Oikya Front, it would be better to combine the two platforms which would strengthen the movement and enable them to take better decisions. 

He also believes that Oikya Front leaders should look past the Jamaat-e-Islami and forge a unity to overcome the ongoing crisis. 

After the conflict within the 20-party alliance worsened, Islami Oikya Jote, Khilafat Majlish, Bangladesh National Awami Party, National Democratic Party, Bangladesh Kalyan Party, and Jatiya Ganatantrik Party first opted to quit, but stepped back from doing so.

Contacted, senior BNP leader Gayeshwar Chandra Roy said it was BNP’s decision to send its leaders to parliament.

“If BNP was really happy with the poll results, it would have given permission long ago. BNP gave the permission with pressure from its elected parliamentarians and the government. The decision was taken by BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman and we followed it,” he added.