Got to win even before the polls
The BNP must be well ahead of the other parties in the months running up to the national polls if it is to win the election, a section of BNP leaders said yesterday.
They said the opposition party must wage a movement to dislodge the ruling Awami League from power, or else the AL will form government again like it did through an election in 2018.
BNP vice chairmen and advisors to the BNP chairperson said that the party has no choice but to launch a movement demanding an atmosphere congenial to hold a free and fair election.
They expressed this view at the first of the three closed-door meetings the party convened to learn what the grassroots activists think should be their strategy ahead of the next parliamentary polls.
The meetings are taking place as the party rank and file have long been frustrated in the absence of any directions from the leadership.
As the meeting was held behind closed door, party leaders wishing not to be named told the Daily Star that most of the participants recommended waging a movement before participating in the election.
For a free, fair and participatory election, there should be an impartial polls-time government and an impartial election commission, the advisers and vice chairmen said.
If the BNP can take to the streets with courage, the people will stand by the party, they said, adding that the movement should be intensified in phases to achieve this.
A total of 62 vice chairmen and the chairperson's advisers attended the meeting remotely participated by acting BNP chairman Tarique Rahman. Twenty-eight leaders spoke at the meeting.
They also slammed the BNP leadership for the party's poor organisational status because reorganising the party has not been complete in the last 15 years.
Maj (retd) Hafiz Uddin Ahmed said he was elected lawmaker for six times. But he couldn't even leave his house during the last election.
"We have to announce: no election under Hasina," he said.
Hafiz said the ruling party repressed the opposition. But the incidents were not properly publicised abroad.
Stating that the party should raise its voice against border killings, Hafiz said the BNP should also logically present the facts to the global community explaining why a fair election is not possible under the Hasina administration.
Vice Chairman Shawkat Mahmud said it is of utmost importance to launch a movement with just one goal: no election under Hasina government.
If the election is held under the Awami League government, Jamaat will join the next election as it did in 1986 and 1988. "The party should take a clear stance on Jamaat."
Another vice chairman Nitai Roy Chowdhury said the party should identify its foriegn friends.
He said the main driving force of a movement are students, labourers and farmers, and the BNP's strategy should be to engage them.
Vice Chairman Shamsuzzaman Dudu said there is no need to form an alliance before the election. Rather, the opposition forces can wage a movement jointly.
"We have to win the election even before the election is held," he said.
In 2018, the party held its last executive committee meeting at Le Meridian hotel just four days before Khaleda landed in jail. Since then, the party held meetings with the vice chairmen, organising secretaries and other members separately.
No executive committee meeting has been held since. The BNP will hold meetings with senior joint secretaries general, joint secretaries general, organising secretaries and assistant organising secretaries today. On Thursday, the party will hold a meeting with the leaders of the central committee and the BNP associated bodies.
Some 400 leaders were invited to attend the meetings and were encouraged to express their views on launching a movement and the next parliamentary election.
This has been the first meeting of this scale since Khaleda landed in jail in February 8, 2018. It has also been the biggest meeting since Tarique Rahman became the acting chairman of the party.
After the meeting, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told Journalists without going into details that the participants discussed the overall political situation of the country.