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Is everything fine within Gono Forum?

  • Published at 11:40 am April 29th, 2019
web-gono-forum-dr-kamal-meeting-mahmud-hossain-opu-05.01.2019
Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain and other party leaders at an extended meeting of the party Bangladesh Shishu Kalyan Parishad in Dhaka on Saturday, January 5, 2019 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Party insiders say the party might split

Though the party has got its representative into parliament—27 years after its formation—Gono Forum is likely to split; due to internal feuds among its leaders over party leadership, and the oath-taking by its MP Mokabbir Khan.

Gono Forum's internal conflict came to the spotlight as a group of party leaders—including its general secretary Mostafa Mohsin Montu—boycotted the party's special council held in the city on Friday; while some others voiced their resentment at the council session as Mokabbir joined it.

Due to the infighting, no fresh committee of the party has been formed in the council — held after eight years. Party delegates entrusted Dr Kamal with the responsibility of forming a committee and running the party, plus reorganizing it in consultation with senior leaders.

A leader, in support of Dr Kamal, said that their president may form an ad-hoc committee early next month—instead of making a full-fledged committee to run the party—and prepare it for another council within a year, overhauling it at the grassroots.

Mokabbir was served with a show-cause notice on Saturday, signed by Montu, for taking the oath - violating the party's decision.

Party insiders said a misunderstanding developed between party president Dr Kamal Hossain and its general secretary—and some other leaders—over the oath-taking by two of its MPs, Sultan Mohammad Mansur and Mokabbir Khan.

They said a group of party leaders—led by Montu and its Gono Forum executive president Subrata Chowdhury—was against the two MPs taking the oath, while others loyal to Dr Kamal were in favour of sending their MPs to parliament.

A party presidium member said the Montu-led group believes that Mansur and Mokabbir took the oath because Dr Kamal gave them the green signal to do so.

The Point of Conflict 

The problem first began when Mansur took his oath of office on March 7 — claiming that Dr Kamal consented to him being sworn in. However, the tension was defused after Mansur was sacked from the party.

It remerged when Mokabbir took the oath on April 2, as Dr Kamal neither made his position clear nor took action against him.

A number of Gono Forum leaders said there is a conflict between Montu and a group of party leaders—lead by another of the party's executive committee members, Mofizur Rahman Kamal—over the party's leadership and organizational issues.

A leader of the Mofizur-led group said Montu created a division in the party by prioritizing the leaders loyal to him.

Mofizur Rahman said: "Party men are unhappy with Montu as he used BNP chief Khaleda Zia's photo on his poster during the national election."

Another party leader said they are not with Mofizur, but they want a change in the party general secretary post. A group of party leaders are in favour of making Subrata Chowdhury its new secretary general.

However, another leader, close to Dr Kamal, said their president wants to make Reza Kibria—who joined Gono Forum before the last national election—its general secretary and the division in the party will deepen if this is done.

Subrata Chowdhury claimed that there is no conflict among their party leaders, except some misunderstanding over the Mokabbir Khan issue. 

He said: "We have sent a show-cause letter to Mokabbir and action will be taken against him based on his reply. I hope the misunderstanding will be over soon."

Mokabbir said: "I received the show-cause letter on Sunday afternoon but have not gone through it yet."

"Party men should not be angry over my participation in the council as I am a presidium and founding member of it." he added.

Mokabbir also said: "I have a very close relationship with Montu and there is no reason to  engage in conflict with him. I think he is my close friend and will remain so."

Jubo Gono Forum President Kazi Habib said: "Montu Bhai and we have no conflict with Dr Kamal. However, we want Dr Kamal to make his position over Mokabbir clear. Mokabbir needs to be sacked as per the aspiration of 99% of the party's  leaders and activists."

He added: "around 80% of party leaders and activists will become either inactive or think otherwise, if Mokabbir is not expelled from the party."

The party training affairs secretary Rafiqul Islam Pathik said it is painful that Kamal Hossain is doing "dual politics" over Mokabbir's issue. 

"I left the council and boycotted it in protest against Mokabbir's presence at the council," said Rafiqul.

He added: "The party may split if Dr Kamal does not expel Mokabbir and form a new committee with competent and dedicated leaders. Dr Kamal should also sit with the aggrieved party leaders to resolve the misunderstanding."

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