BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia had tried to make every quarter in the party happy by giving them representations in the newly formed convening committee of the party’s Dhaka city unit, sources said.
However, supporters are wondering about some last-minute changes and decisions, including the inclusion of the immediate past chief of the committee Sadeque Hossain Khoka.
Insiders said up until the announcement of the committee on Friday afternoon, everyone was pretty much sure that Khoka, whose reluctance in mobilising manpower has been largely blamed for the failure of the January 5 election resistance movement, would be left out of the new committee.
Former mayor of the capital, Khoka’s longstanding rivalry with another Dhaka BNP stalwart Mirza Abbas, also a former mayor, has been widely discussed as one of the reasons why it took the party so long to form its long overdue city unit team.
However, when the announcement eventually came, it was expected that Mirza Abbas would be at the helm of the committee; but virtually everyone was surprised to see Khoka as one of the advisers.
Insiders said although party chief Khaleda was really cross with Khoka for his reluctance during the street protests ahead of the January election, she could not eventually ignore him considering the huge supporter base that Khoka enjoyed, especially in the older part of the city.
Reportedly, the party chief wanted to make sure that nobody could dodge taking responsibilities of any kind of failures such as the pre-January poll movement.
“Abbas has been handed over a locked box. But Khoka holds the key that can open it. That is the Dhaka city
BNP’s Dhaka committee ‘strangely balanced’
committee in a nutshell,” a standing committee member of the party told the Dhaka Tribune.
He said although Abbas is the convener, interestingly, Khoka’s followers are dominating the committee.
Another Dhaka city unit leader told the Dhaka Tribune that the rivalry between Khoka and Abbas was one of the main reasons behind the poor performance of the city leaders in the pre-election movement.
He said although Abbas was assigned to form the new committee in consultation with all the leaders, Khoka was made adviser and he will not remain silent.
In the previous committee, Khoka enjoyed absolute authority but Abbas did not have any position in that convening committee.
Sources said the new committee had left out some of those leaders who were said to have good connections with the government and the ruling party.
“It is a high-profile committee. Madam [Khaleda Zia] wants to make everyone happy by forming such a big committee. But this might backfire because one may get in the way of another’s work and delay the reorganisation of the party,” a senior leader told the Dhaka Tribune.
Insiders said there were a number of mysteries surrounding the announcement of the much-awaited and speculated committee.
The announcement was supposed to come on late Thursday night after a meeting of the standing committee, the highest policy-making body of the party.
Up until Thursday evening, everyone knew that it was going to be a 31-member body that did not have a member secretary post.
However, when the committee was officially announced on Friday afternoon, there turned out to be 52 members and the member secretary post was in tact.
Available information until Thursday night suggested that Habin-un-Nabi Khan Sohel, a Dhaka leader who had gained prominence over the last few years, was becoming one of the joint conveners. But eventually, he was made the member secretary.
“[We knew that] there was no member secretary post. But we do not know how it was brought back. That does not mean I doubt Sohel’s capabilities,” a senior leader said.
According to an insider, Mirza Abbas was not very happy with Sohel’s inclusion. After the committee was announced, Sohel went to meet Abbas.
Abbas reportedly told Sohel that he would clarify his views to the party chairperson after she returned from Saudi Arabia.
As convener and member secretary respectively, Abbas and Sohel would have to work closely in the coming days if they were to complete their task of forming the local unit committees in the capital in a short time.
There are allegations that leaders such as Abul Bashar and Abdul Kayeum have been given posts ahead of their seniors like Nasiruddin Pintu and Abu Sayeed Khokon.
Supporters of Standing Committee Member Rafiqul Islam Miah alleged that they had been excluded from the body.
Rafiqul, a leader based in Mirpur in Dhaka, himself reportedly does not want be included in the committee.
However, party acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir hopes that the new committee will live up to the expectations of the leaders and activists.
“Mirza Abbas and Habib-un-Nabi Khan are dedicated and tested leaders. Dhaka city unit BNP will be stronger under their leadership,” he hoped.