Disappointment over the poll results – BNP won only five parliamentary seats out of 298 where results were announced
The headquarters of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), located in Dhaka’s Naya Paltan area, was found deserted during the week following the 11th general elections.
Disappointment over the poll results – BNP won only five parliamentary seats out of 298 where results were announced. Its Jatiya Oikya Front ally, Gono Forum, won only two – as well as fear of getting arrested is keeping the party leaders and activists away from the office, a BNP leader recently told the Dhaka Tribune, requesting anonymity.
“The law enforcement agencies are still after us. Thousands of our activists cannot go home because of the false cases filed against them before the election. This is also why they are not going to the office either,” he added.
“We want equal opportunities to do politics. This environment of fear must be overturned. How else can we continue our activities?” he asked.
In protest of the election results, the seven MPs-elect of Oikya Front refrained from taking oath as lawmakers in the 11th parliament, held on Thursday.
Sources said the party’s student wing, Bangladesh Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, had their 40th founding anniversary on January 1, two days after the election. The student wing did not organize any programs to observe the day, nor did any central leaders of Chhatra Dal go to the Naya Paltan headquarters.
When contacted, Abdus Sattar Patwary, secretary of Chhatra Dal’s Central Committee, said: “There was a ban on meetings, rallies and processions for three days following the elections. That’s why we postponed our celebrations. The programs will be arranged at a later date.”
Before the elections, the BNP headquarters used to be swarmed with party leaders and activists.
In November 2018, after the Election Commission announced the poll schedule, the Naya Paltan office buzzed with activities every day as BNP began distributing nomination forms.
During the distribution, even a clash occurred on November 14, between BNP activists and police in Naya Paltan due to the crowd.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, a party insider said the BNP leaders and activists are slowly growing frustrated.
“The party does not want to initiate any movement against the government as our leaders and activists are tired due to the election activities. The party is trying to draw international attention towards the vote-rigging that occurred in this election,” he said. “Right now, we want to focus on getting our leaders and activists, who were arrested before the elections, out of jail.”
The BNP leaders and activists also said their party had mass popularity on their side, using which they would work to establish democracy in the country.