Tuesday, June 18, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

BNP’s unilateral blockade decision sparks dissatisfaction among allies

  • Concerns raised about two top BNP leaders abroad making crucial decisions 
  • BNP leaders' attempts to involve Jamaat in movement face challenges
Update : 11 Dec 2023, 09:21 AM

The BNP has called for another round of blockades starting at 6am on Tuesday, ending at 6pm on Wednesday. However, the political parties that joined the simultaneous movement of the BNP were not involved in the decision-making process for the fresh program.

Several leaders of the Ganatantra Mancha and the 12-party alliance told this correspondent that on Sunday, the BNP came out on the streets after 43 days and announced the blockade program without any discussion with any like-minded parties. They feel the BNP has missed a trick by continuing with its blockade programs and could have told a rally or mass march for a change.

They said the bravery the BNP showed on Sunday could have been better used by changing programs.

BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi announced at a virtual press conference on Sunday that their 36-hour road-rail-waterway blockade is aimed at protesting the schedule for the next national election. It will be the 11th round of the blockade program of the opposition parties since October 31.

A leader of the 12-party alliance said that all the like-minded parties that joined the simultaneous anti-government movement with the BNP had joined the BNP's human chain program on Sunday, marking International Human Rights Day.

The 12-party leader said the concern is that two top leaders of the BNP, who are currently abroad, are making these decisions.

A member of the Standing Committee of the BNP told this correspondent that a senior party member is responsible for coordinating the party's stances with like-minded parties.

Ganatantra Mancha leader Saiful Hoque said: "The BNP has come across attacks during its human chain programs across the country today. Ganatantra Mancha leaders were attacked in Gaibandha. The government agencies have attacked and arrested BNP men in various places. But the party has held its program in Dhaka despite pressure and threats. Such programs will continue."

He said: "Tomorrow there will be rallies and demonstrations in some places. The next day, the blockade program will be enforced. They (the government) did not spare us even on International Human Rights Day. The government has continued with its strategy of repression, and this is why the new blockade program has been announced."

Saiful Hoque further said: "I think the opposition parties have held their rallies separately, and this should be continued in this simultaneous movement. We want to keep people engaged and want to increase it."

When contacted, BNP Standing Committee Member Selima Rahman said: "We are announcing programs publicly. In this situation, we are trying. Look today; they did not allow us to stand in Barisal. Leaders and activists were picked up, and we are still trying. We are coming publicly. On December 14 and 16, our leaders will go to the National Mausoleum. Politics will be in public."

BNP Media Cell Member Shairul Kabir Khan confirmed the matter, saying they will pay tribute to party founder and former president Ziaur Rahman.

Efforts to take Jamaat on board slow down.

According to sources at the BNP, efforts by some senior leaders to take Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami onboard with the BNP's ongoing movement have not been fruitful. Several members of the Standing Committee want to wait a month before taking such a decision. According to sources, the issue was also discussed in the committee's meeting on Saturday.

While some members of the former 20-party alliance, including Gono Odhikar Parishad (Nur) and Gono Forum, are in favour of taking Jamaat on board in the simultaneous movement, others, including the AB Party, Islami Andolan Bangladesh and Democratic Leftist Alliance, are against it.

Sources further said that if the BNP becomes adamant about taking Jamaat on board, it might impact the simultaneous movement. But the source said a portion of the BNP is already desperate.

Selima Rahman commented on the issue: "Listen, you will see when it happens. I cannot say anything about its progress or possibility. We are all on the streets, and we have to continue. That is important."

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