BNP's promised post-Eid anti-government movement has plunged into uncertainty as the rift between Mirza Abbas and Habib-un-Nabi Khan Sohel, the two top leaders of Dhaka city unit, the most crucial chapter, continues to widen with Chairperson Khaleda Zia finding herself between a rock and a hard place.
Though Khaleda held a series of meetings with the Dhaka city leaders at her Gulshan office on Saturday, she could not come up with an amicable solution or give any decision. While Sohel accused Abbas, the convener, of non-cooperation, Abbas said he could not work with Sohel, the member secretary and second man in the new convening committee.
In the meantime, BNP high-ups' worries were fuelled further by the prospects that several BNP senior leaders, including the immediate past chief of Dhaka city BNP Sadeque Hossain Khoka, will resign from the committee due to the split in the new leadership.
Khaleda held another meeting with the city leaders last night, which was going on till filing of this report at 10:30pm. On Tuesday, the BNP chief is scheduled to sit with all leaders of the new convening committee to discuss the issue, party sources said.
Khaleda on July 18 approved the 56-member convening committee and asked them to reorganise the unit within a month and prepare for an anti-government movement after Eid-ul-Fitr. But the chapter's activities stalled due to the conflict.
At Saturday's meeting with the BNP chief, Sohel said Abbas had not been “cooperating” with him since announcement of the new committee.
Sources close to Sohel said he also told Khaleda about the scuffle when Abbas's men barred him from entering the Dhaka city BNP office at Nayapaltan recently.
After over half-an-hour long meeting with Sohel, Khaleda asked him to go on with his new assignment and work in unison.
Then, she met Mirza Abbas, Abdul Awal Mintoo, Barkat Ullah Bulu. At one stage of the meeting, Mintoo, the first joint convener of the committee, said Sohel was too junior for member secretary, and several leaders were reluctant to work under him, said meeting sources.
Another leader who was present at the meeting said the appointment of Sohel was not consulted with Abbas, which irked him.
“Earlier, it had been agreed that there would be no member secretary in the new convening committee. But it was not followed in the end,” a BNP leader told the meeting.
At this stage, Abbas told the BNP chief that he could not work with Sohel remaining on the committee.
The BNP chief then said, as quoted by a leader, "What's wrong with Sohel? He is an educated man. He led Chhatra Dal as president. He has good image, and has quality too.”