The BNP is planning to bring Dr Zubaida Rahman, wife of the party’s senior vice-chairman Tarique Rahman, into politics to assist Khaleda Zia in the election campaign ahead.
A good number of senior leaders of the party believe that Zubaida, now in London with her husband, is capable of rejuvenating party activities through mass communication before the next general elections scheduled for early 2014.
A meeting of the BNP standing committee on April 10 discussed Zubaida’s probable induction into politics. The meeting, however, did not make any decision on the issue.
“A senior leader raised the issue of bringing Dr Zubaida into active politics early. A few members of the committee supported the idea, too,” a member of the committee told Dhaka Tribune, on the condition of anonymity.
BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia heard the proposal and the subsequent support "with a smile”, but she concluded the meeting without making her own position on the matter clear, said another member on Saturday.
She only asked the leaders to intensify the party’s anti-government movement.
“It is not clear if the move was a planned one,” a BNP leader said.
Zubaida is apparently an introvert, and her joining active politics largely depends on herself as well as on Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman, the leader said.
A number of party leaders said those, who made the move, came up with the Zubaida-card as rumour runs rife that the government might arrest Khaleda anytime.
Several top leaders of the main opposition party, including acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, are now in jail on different charges.
Tarique’s direct involvement in Bangladesh’s politics “is very difficult right now” as he faces 14 corruption charges, a party leader said.
Tarique was arrested during the army-backed caretaker government in 2007 and was forced to leave the country on September 11, 2008.
Despite facing a corruption case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission, Zubaida has a “good image” among the party’s rank and file, which the party wants to utilise in the politics of voting, several party leaders said.
Daughter of former navy chief MA Khan, Zubaida came to the limelight in 2007 when the then government arrested Khaleda and her two sons Tarique Rahman and Arafat Rahman Koko – the latter also charged with corruption and money laundering in five cases. Koko has been in Bangkok on parole.
Khaleda, who also faces five corruption cases, has since been alone in politics – without any of her family members.