BNP doesn’t know if Jamaat defects alliance

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Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami is considering severing its two decades of political alliance with Bangladesh Nationalist party, sources in the alliance have indicated.The Jamaat leaders were learned to have discussed the matter in a few recent meetings, but the major alliance partner BNP or other parties in the 20-party alliance said they are still in dark about any such decision by the Jamaat.

Jamaat’s policymaking body Majlish-e-Shura convened meeting twice in January and February where they discussed about starting afresh as a socio-cultural organisation.

The party has also changed its constitution to that end, according to party sources. Jamaat leaders, however, are in no way making any public comment about such decisions.

Some BNP leaders said they are yet to get any indication from the Jamaat about its exit from the alliance. The Jamaat has not yet shared any such thinking in two meetings of the 20-party alliance following the 30 December election.

“I’ve learnt about such a development through the news media. They didn’t inform us anything like that . The BNP doesn’t know anything about it,” said Nazrul Islam Khan, BNP standing committee member and coordinator of the 20-party alliance.

Another component of the 20-party alliance, Bangladesh Jatiya Party’s (BJP) chairperson Andaleeve Rahman Partha, too, said they do not know anything about it.

He, however, maintained that their alliance would not be affected, should the Jamaat leave.

Jamaat’s central executive committee member Ahsanul Mahbub Zobair told Prothom Alo that they discussed about many things in their internal meetings but did not reach any decision.

Terming the alliance with the BNP as electoral, Zobair said the Jamaat is now giving full concentration on its own party as the alliance has decided not to take part in any election under the current government.

The BNP had formed the 4-party alliance with Jamaat and two other parties including Jatiya Party of HM Ershad in 1999 and which swept the general elections in 2001 although Ershad quit much before the polls. The alliance was extended more than once later with Jamaat remaining a vital component of it.

The alliance was defeated heavily by the Awami League-led grand alliance in 2008 general elections.

Subsequently, the top leaders of Jamaat were convicted for alleged crimes against humanity during the 1971 liberation war and the party lost its registration with the election commission (EC) by a court order.

Since then, the BNP was being pressured by the civil society members and even by the ruling AL to do away with the Jamaat. The BNP-Jamaat combine, however, remains unscathed even after the BNP’s joining of the jatiya Oikya Front led by elderly politician Kamal Hossain.

The BNP has long been maintaining that the alliance with Jamaat is not an ideological one; it’s merely electoral.

After BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia was jailed in February last year, the relations between two parties start souring which culminated in the Sylhet city corporation elections after the Jamaat filed independent candidate defying the BNP and alliance decision.

In recently held eleventh general election, a total of 22 Jamaat leaders contested with the BNP’s electoral symbol ‘sheaf of paddy’. But the Jamaat was unsatisfied with the BNP over seat sharing.

After the election, Jatiya Oikya Front leader Kamal Hossain told an Indian newspaper that he would not have formed the alliance with the BNP, had he known that Jamaat would contest the polls under the umbrella of BNP.

As the talks of Jamaat’s quitting of the BNP alliance hit the political arena for last several days, some BNP leaders and pro-BNP intellectuals seem to be happy about such development, if it is true.

Former vice chancellor of Dhaka University Emajuddin Ahmed and Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury expressed satisfaction over such development.

BNP standing committee member Mahbubur Rahman thinks it will be good for his party if Jamaat finally depart from the alliance.

“I always think that the BNP should not take Jamaat in any kind of alliance,” Mahbubur told Prothom Alo.

* This report, originally published in Prothom ALo Bangla online, has been rewritten in English by Galib Ashraf

 

Source: Prothom Alo.

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