BNP had to take a stance over the conviction of party chief Khaleda Zia in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case, but at the same time, turning violent on the streets could have been suicidal for them as it was evident in the spell of mass arrests as well as strong presence of Awami League activists following the court order.
BNP did well not to fall into the trap, and, to the irritation of the top brass of the ruling Awami Leauge, is still managing to hold peaceful protests across the country over the issue.
Senior Awami League leaders have admitted that their plan to prevent BNP on the street has flopped because the party had been cautious about declaring programs.
BNP is acting like a mature political party, which rings alarm bells for Awami League for the upcoming national election. BNP did not react violently and instead tried to reach for people’s sympathy through peaceful programs, observed the Awami League leaders.
An Awami League presidium member, preferring not to be named, told the Dhaka Tribune that their prediction about BNP’s move after Khaleda Zia’s conviction has failed, and that Awami League is changing its tactics to face BNP politically rather than on the street.
“Now Awami League is trying to increase its popularity through party programs instead of sending BNP leaders behind bars,” he said.
Sources at the Awami League President’s Dhanmondi Office said that Awami League central leaders had been planning to court people’s attention through projecting the government’s development projects and achievements.
The top brass of Awami League Dhaka North and South units told the Dhaka Tribune that they were earlier instructed by the party high command to stay vigilant on the street, but the directives have been changed recently, and the call is now for taking up programs supporting the election campaign.
Terming BNP’s move after Khaleda’s jail sentence as mysterious, Awami League Presidium Member Ramesh Chandra Sen said: “Though BNP did not create any unrest after the Khaleda verdict, we should not believe them. BNP can create anarchy any time.”
Sen also admitted that as a political party Awami League is keeping a close eye on BNP’s future moves, as well as trying to keep checks on what BNP leaders are thinking about the future of their party.
Talking to the Dhaka Tribune over phone, Awami League Organising Secretary Ahmad Hossain said that they did not feel any political pressure over BNP’s moves as the party’s chairperson was convicted by a court and people knew that she was involved in corruption.
Alleging that BNP is violating the court’s order through arranging political programmes, he said: “BNP should face the Khaleda verdict legally. They should not declare any political program.”
He also claimed that people will not support BNP in the next election.
Awami League Joint General Secretary Abdur Rahman said: “BNP has no moral and organizational ground to announce programs as its chief Khaleda Zia was sent to jail.”