Islamist allies of BNP press for hard-line stanceRashed Ahmed Mitul
Islamist allies of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party want it to take a hard-line stance to speed up the current movement after the prime minister outlined the framework for an election-time government, a leader of the opposition alliance said.
Some partners of the ‘18-party’ alliance, including Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, during a secretary general-level meeting of the alliance on Tuesday suggested a hard-line stance to mount pressure on the government to stop its move for holding the elections under the incumbents, the meeting sources said.
BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir held a meeting with the alliance leaders at the BNP central office to discuss the political developments particularly after prime minister Sheikh Hasina made the statement at her meeting with the secretaries on Monday that the polls would be held by January 24 keeping the present cabinet and parliament functioning.
A leader of the alliance told New Age that Jamaat at Tuesday’s meeting had stressed that the time was running out and the alliance should now intensify the movement.
The Jamaat leader said that the steps the government was taking would cause problems for all in the days ahead.
Some of the allies censured the BNP for using only ‘high-sounding words’ like ‘tough programme after
Eid-ul-Fitr’ and stressed that what was needed was ‘action, not rhetoric’.
Jamaat expected the alliance to come up with programmes after the High Court had declared illegal its registration as a political party with the Election Commission, the meeting sources said.
The alliance also frustrated Jamaat by not protesting against the government decision to strip convicted war criminals of voting rights.
A leader of another component, however, said the alliance should not change its stance on the war criminals, the meeting sources said.
Mirza Fakhrul told the alliance leaders not to get frustrated. The people were fed up with the activities of the government, he said adding that the movement would gain momentum through various phases.
The movement has prevented the government from taking many anti-national moves, Fakhrul said in the meeting, sources said.
Citing previous instances, he said it was difficult to pull down an elected government before it completed its tenure, the sources said. He said the alliance would go for final push after Eid-ul-Azha, they added.
Fakhrul said the programmes had been taken after discussions with the top leaders of the components of the alliance, an alliance leader said.
He advised the parties holding different views about the way the movement was being carried out, to convey their opinions in the meeting with BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia.
At the meeting, some leaders wanted to know if they would get nominations of the alliance in the next general elections, the source said.
Representatives of smaller parties said president and general secretary of each small component should get the aillance nomination.
In reply, Fakhrul said that it was too early to discuss the issue, besides he (Fakhrul) was not authorised to speak about the matter, secretary of a party told New Age. Fakhrul, however, assured them that he would convey their views to Khaleda.
Fariduzzaman Farhad, secretary general of National People’s Party, a component of the alliance, told New Age that the stand of the alliance over the strategies of the movement had not changed.
He said Khaleda Zia would announce the final programmes of the movement from a ‘grand rally’ in the capital after Eid-ul-Azha.
On August 19, the alliance announced public meetings of Khaleda Zia in Narsindgi district town, Rangpur, Rajshahi, Khulna, Barisal and Sylhet cities in September-October to mobilise support for its demand to hold the next general elections under a non-party caretaker government.
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