Over the last few months, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has held talks with various political parties
With the national election fast approaching, major out-of-parliament party BNP is in the process of reorganizing alliances to be more competitive in the polls.
The BNP wishes to form a broader alliance in order to compel the incumbent government to hold the election under a neutral administration, sources from various political parties said.
However, the long-standing BNP ally Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami is likely to be excluded from the new alliance as a result of reservations from other parties who may join, they added.
Jamaat will remain a member of the existing 20-party alliance, which is separate from the new alliance, BNP insiders said.
Over the last few months, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has held talks with various political parties, including the former president Dr AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury led BikalpaDhara Bangladesh, ASM Rob led Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Kader Siddique led Krishak Sramik Janata League, and Mahmudur Rahman Manna led Nagorik Oikya.
Allthese parties are part of the Jukto Front political alliance, formed by BikalpaDhara Bangladesh President Dr AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury in late 2017.
BNP leaders have also spoken with Gana Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain regarding the new alliance, which will be formed with the aim of compelling the government to hold the next general election under a neutral administration.
Leaders of Jukto Front and Gana Forum are scheduled to meet at Gana Forum leader Kamal Hossain’s residence today.
Gana Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain told the Dhaka Tribune that they are already in talks with BNP over the formation of a broader alliance for the upcoming polls, and have expressed strong reservations over Jamaat’s inclusion in the alliance.
Nagorik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna said: “If Jamaat is in the broader alliance, we will not take part.”
He added that the alliance will be formed with BNP, and not the 20-party alliance.
Krishak Sramik Janata League President Kader Siddique also said that the party was willing to form an alliance with BNP, but not with Jamaat.
Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal leader ASM Rob said the new alliance would be different regardless of BNP’s association with Jamaat in the 20-party alliance
“As we want the next polls to be held fairly under a neutral government, we will take part in the alliance,” he added.
Top BNP leaders have said that only parties who agree with BNP’s draft 10-point proposal will be accepted into the broader alliance.
BNP Standing Committee member KhandakerMosharrafHossain said:“The proposal is open for all. Any party willing to accept our proposal can join in the alliance.”
“We will take part in the national polls with a broader electoral alliance, which will be formed with anti-Awami League parties that seek a fair election under a neutral government,” he added.
Although BNP leaders refused to discuss the proposal with the Dhaka Tribune, media reports said the demands include the unconditional release of all political leaders and activists, including BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia; a free, fair and participatory election; and the establishment of good governance in every sphere of the state, among others.
Mosharraf said discussions on the alliance with five parties were ongoing.
“We will discuss the formation of the broader alliance and the issue of Jamaat with interested political parties. The decision on whether to include Jamaat in new alliance will be made based on the discussions,” he added.
He further said that Jamaat would remain a part of the 20-party alliance regardless of the discussions, and an announcement on the broader alliance is planned for September.
BNP standing committee member and 20-party alliance convener Nazrul Islam Khan echoed Mosharraf in saying that Jamaat’s inclusion in the broader alliance was dependent on discussions with interested political parties.
“The broader alliance and the 20-party alliance are different things,” he added.
He further said that the announcement on the alliance may take some time, as parties were still in the discussion stage.
Pro-BNP intellectual Dr Jafarullah Chowdhury said he thinks BNP needs a broader alliance to be a strong competitor to Awami League in the national election.
Earlier on August 25, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir met with party Chairperson Khaleda Zia in jail.The party chief asked Fakhrul to form a broader alliance with smaller political parties as part of its preparation for the next polls.