BNP is currently observing peaceful programs demanding the release of its Chairperson Khaleda Zia, but the party plans to launch an “all-out” movement for the upcoming national elections in June.
The party policymakers say in the meantime they would try to find ways for waging a greater movement and reach consensus with like-minded parties.
BNP leaders said the ongoing protests will continue until Khaleda is released but they will take time to bring the momentum in the movement over pushing for demands for the elections.
BNP will approach new parties after they get registered with the Election Commission in April.
BNP Vice Chairman M Hafizuddin Ahmed said: “The ongoing protests will not expedite Khaleda Zia's release, she can only be freed through legal process. We are trying to do that. This month's human chains and sit-in programs have been are being observed to pass the time.
“The BNP will launch a tougher program when the election comes close and the environment is heated up. Then we will go for an all-out movement.”
The next hearing for Khaleda's bail petition is likely to be held on Thursday, said BNP Joint Secretary General Barrister Mahbub Uddin Khokon. “We hope the hearing will be held on Thursday and madam [Khaleda] will be released.”
However, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said the court would issue an order if it received related documents.
“We will continue our peaceful programs. The next programs will follow on time. We will go for full fledged movement for the election in June,” said a party policymaker.
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However, a member of the advisory panel of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia said: “BNP will bring changes to its movements in May. The party leaders will travel to major districts with programs like long march.
“Everything depends on the agreement with the government. If we fail to reach a deal with the government, then BNP will go for a tough movement in June.”
Party sources said since the international community was well aware why Khaleda was imprisoned, BNP does not see any problem if she had to stay in jail for a prolonged period.
The leaders think the government would be forced to meet any demand of the party over the election after Khaleda was released.
Another advisory member said the relationship between the ruling Awami League and India was not going well, being affected over the issue of submarines.
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The advisor claimed: “India's current stance will have an impact on the upcoming elections. Awami League resumed power in 2014 as India wanted it to, but this time the chance to get India's cooperation is very little which is a positive sign for BNP.”
The party leaders think the government will be under pressure for several months, especially if Khaleda remained in jail for long, as it would have an impact on people.
BNP Organizing Secretary Sakhawat Hasan Jibon said: “Our peaceful program is underway. The people of the country and international community are happy with that. Keeping Khaleda Zia in jail means that the government is losing its popularity every day, and it will go down a lot before the elections.
“No elections will be held with Khaleda Zia in jail. If needed, BNP will not contest in the election.”
Asked if the party would lose its registration, Jibon said: “This is funny to even think that a political party like BNP will lose its registration. If required, the law will be reformed.”
Kalim Uddin Ahmed Milon, co-organizing secretary and president of Sunamganj district unit, said: “We are involving people in our programs. If needed, we will not hesitate to launch tougher programs.
“We will bring changes to our programs in phases. We have decided to hold rallies in divisional cities. We will continue our peaceful program until Khaleda Zia is freed,” said BNP's Publicity Affairs Secretary Shaheed Uddin Chowdhury Anee.
He hoped after getting released from jail, the party chairperson would travel and join public rallies in divisional cities.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said many incidents would take place in the political arena before the next election. “We will announce our next program depending on the situation.”
This article was first published on banglatribune.com