The rift between Dhaka city BNP Convener Mirza Abbas and Member Secretary Habib-un-Nabi Khan has widened despite party leaders' hectic efforts to calm the situation.
The gradually intensified feud has also spread among their followers, leading to a halt in the activities of such a crucial chapter of the party.
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on July 18 approved the 56-member convening committee led by Abbas and Sohel and asked them to reorganise the unit within a month and prepare for an upcoming anti-government movement.
Khaleda along with her party policymakers was reportedly deeply frustrated with Sadeque Hossain Khoka, Abbas' predecessor, for his performance in last year's anti-government movement for elections under a non-party administration.
After the BNP-led opposition's failure to stop the January 5 polls under the Hasina administration, Khaleda on February 10 announced that she would reconstitute the Dhaka city unit within a day or two. The convening committee has, however, largely disappointed the party high-ups and activists due to the internal chaotic situation.
“Instead of strengthening the party, the committee is rather weakening the organisation due to a serious conflict between Abbas and Sohel,” a joint convener of the Dhaka city BNP told The Daily Star.
Insiders say the party high-ups will inform Khaleda about the matter after Eid and seek her intervention.
Sources close to Abbas say Sohel was included in the committee in spite of his determined opposition. Khaleda had no alternative to including Sohel as a loyalist to BNP Senior Vice-chairman Tarique Rahman, they observe.
Abbas was allegedly so annoyed that he delayed five days in going to BNP founder Ziaur Rahman's grave to show respects on behalf of the new committee.
Sohel's followers on Saturday took control of a room inside the party's Dhaka city office at Bhashani Bhaban previously used by Paltan thana BNP. They also attached a nameplate -- room of member-secretary -- outside.
In retaliation, Abbas' followers broke the lock, removed the nameplate and took control of the room.
The insiders say Sohel has yet to go to the Dhaka city office due to opposition from Abbas.
Contacted, Abbas and Sohel, however, said they did not have any disagreement and their aim was to achieve organisational strength.