BNP struggles to ‘stay afloat’; frustration visible

Abdul Awal Mintoo likely to be Dhaka city BNP unit convener

Frustration and despair have gripped the BNP rank and file as the out-of-parliament opposition party has failed to reinvent itself as a party of hope after its ‘failed’ movement before the much-talked-about January 5 national election, though five months have elapsed.

According to BNP insiders, grassroots party leaders and activists are losing the hope that the party will be able to make a turnaround as its high command’s announcement three months back to revamp the party to wage a strong movement to pursue its cause for a fresh election under a neutral administration has virtually seen no palpable progress.

Despite taking steps, they said, the party even could not form a fresh convening committee for its Dhaka city unit, the most important party wing blamed for failure to make pre-polls movement tangible. “There’s nothing to hide…we’re trying to stay afloat,” said a senior party leader opting for anonymity because of the sensitivity of his statement.

What the party has achieved so far in the last three months are mere formation of fresh convening committees of 12 district units and the new committee of Sramik Dal, the party’s workers associate body, through holding a council.

BNP standing committee member Hannan Shah, however, told UNB, “Although our efforts are not visible, our party revamping activities are going on in full swing across the country. It’ll take more time to complete the recasting process.”

Mentioning that reorganising a big party like BNP is not possible overnight, he said, “We’re doing some basic works, like meeting with the grassroots leaders and reshuffling the party. We can’t bring major changes in the party’s different committees by just issuing a press release. We have to consider many things before overhauling any unit.”

About the Dhaka city unit revamping, Hannan Shah said their chairperson Khaleda Zia has already finalised the new committee that just awaits the announcement.”

Another BNP standing committee member Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman claimed that they have made a significant progress in reorganising the party and its associate bodies. “We’ve removed conflicts, misunderstandings and lack of coordination among the party men by holding meetings with them and motivating them. We’ve also formed some fresh committees. ”

He said their party chairperson is also sitting with district unit and top leaders of the different associate bodies to revamp the party and prepare it for an effective movement.

Mentioning that most top BNP leaders and that of its associate bodies were in jail on false charges, Mahbub said the jailing of top leaders, adverse political situation and just-held upazila polls are among the reasons that slowed down the party streamlining process.

He hoped that the party reorganising process will get a pace now as most of the top leaders of the party and its associate bodies have been released from jail on bail.

Claiming that their overhauling process is on right track, BNP vice chairman Abdullah Al Noman said Khaleda Zia herself is supervising things now.

He said Khaleda Zia has directed the party leaders to gear up the process and complete it as soon as possible to go for a movement.

A party leader close to Khaleda told UNB that the Dhaka city unit BNP’s new committee is likely to be announced soon making Abdul Awal Mintoo its convener and Habibun Nabi Khan Sohel as its member secretary.

Later, the committees of Jubo Dal, Swechchhasebak Dal and Chhatra Dal will be announced gradually.

He also said BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and some party strategists have prepared a one-year work plan for the party.

The strategists also placed a report to the BNP chief recommending how and with whom the party’s different units and associate bodies should be formed.

They suggested that young and dedicated party men be given the charges of different party units and associate bodies while elderly ones be made advisers to the committees.

The snail pace in reorganising the party demoralized many grassroots party leaders and activists and inactive, recognised Hannan Shah, also member secretary of Shahbagh Thana BNP convening committee.

He said they cannot understand why new committee of Dhaka city unit BNP is not announced though their party chief Khaleda Zia on February 10 decided to form the new committee of each unit of city BNP through holding councils.

At a crowded press conference in a city hotel on February 4, Khaleda had said she would wage a strong movement after reorganising her party and its different units to oust the current regime which assumed office through January 5 election boycotted by her party.

Source: UNB Connect


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