Kamal’s Front emerges with call to action, B Chy’s in disarray
The newly-formed opposition coalition ‘Jatiya Oikya Front’ or National Unity Front will finalise a package of programmes at a meeting today, Tuesday, demanding holding of the next general elections under a neutral administration.
The meeting, set to be held at Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal president (JSD) president ASM Abdur Rab’s Uttara residence, may discuss preparations for the upcoming national elections.
The Jatiya Oikya Front was recently formed with the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and a few components of Jukta Front except its leader Badruddoza Chowdhury, apart fromn Kamal Hossain-led party Gano Forum.
Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury, the man who maintains liaison between the parties and groups in the Jatiya Oikya Front, told Prothom Alo that they would finalise the programmes at the meeting.
“All the leaders of the Oikya Front will take oath to realise the goals set by the coalition on the premises of Central Shaheed Minar. Oikya Front’s programmes will be launched with the promise of a changed Bangladesh,” he added.
More than one key figures in the Oikya Front have confirmed that the new opposition coalition will launch its campaign from outside of Dhaka by visiting the shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal (R) in Sylhet.
The coalition leaders have plans to hold a road march and public rally as well, said a leader of the Oikya Front.
The Oikya Front leaders will then visit Rajshahi and Chattogram to stage similar demonstrations, the leader added.
Jukta Front turns irrelavant?
As the greater forum of Jatiya Oikya Front has taken a shape, the Jukta (United) Front, once floated by B Chowdhury as chief of Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh, has almost lost its existence.
Two major components of the Front — JSD of Rab and Nagorik Oikya of Mahmudur Rahman Manna, have been active partners of the new coalition.
And Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh on Monday made it clear that it would not join the new coalition.
Two more political parties — Sonar Bangla Party and Janadal — which recently joined the Jukta Front, have also joined the Oikya Front.
According to a top leader of Jukta Front, the Jukta Front is no longer relevant in the political arena after the emergence of the Oikya Front.
“The three-party Jukta Front was floated to achieve a goal. But, two parties of the coalition have joined a new coalition in a bid to achieve that goal,” Nagarik Oikya convener Manna told Prothom Alo.
BDB joint secretary general Mahi B Chowdhury is, however, confident that Jukta Front remains.
“We had problems with the formation of Oikya Front. But, this doesn’t mean the old coalition has ceased to exist. A meeting of Jukta Front will be called soon,” he added.
When asked whether BDB has any possibility of joining the new coalition, Mahi, son of B Chowdhury, said their party would happily join the Oikya Front if it excludes direct and indirect anti-liberation forces and promises a balance of power in governance pattern.
Rumours of rift in BDB
Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh expelled two of its leaders — Shah Ahmed Badal and Jan-e Alam Howladar, immediately after formation of Jatiya Oikya Front on Saturday.
Badal, who was BDB’s vice-president, told Prothom Alo that BDB chief Badruddoza Chowdhury could not join the Oikya Front only because of objection from his son Mahi. “This has created a rift in the party,” he argued.
“We’re preparing to form a new committee of Bikalpa Dhara and many of our leaders including Aktaruzzaman and Khandakar Zobayer will join us soon,” he added.
Mahi B Chowdhury told Prothom Alo that no one left BDB except the two expelled leaders.
Aktaruzzaman and Khandakar Zobayer claimed that they are staying with the BDB.
Leaders of the BNP-led 20-party alliance on Monday welcomed the Jatiya Oikya Front.
BNP standing committee member and 20-party coordinator Nazrul Islam Khan conveyed the sentiment of the alliance, briefing newsmen after a meeting of the alliance’s top leaders at the BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office.
Khan as the 20-party coordinator also said the alliance leaders thanked the Oikya Front for including Khaleda Zia’s release from jail in their 7-point demand.
* This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Imam Hossain.