12:01 AM, February 02, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

BNP focuses on revamp of party

BNP focuses on revamp of party

Plans to hold national council by April, strengthen grassroots before resuming anti-govt agitation
Rashidul Hasan

Putting its anti-government movement on hold, the BNP is now planning a major overhaul to strengthen the organisation.
In the wake of its failure to resist the January 5 election, the party aims to hold a council to inject fresh blood into its different tiers and minimise internal feuds before waging a fresh movement against Sheikh Hasina's new government, which it considers illegal.
The council, from upazila level upwards, is likely to be held in March or April, party sources said.
"The council has already been delayed by two years. We have decided in principle to hold the council although the date is yet to be finalised. Our chairperson and the party's highest forum [standing committee] will take the final decision," Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman, a BNP standing committee member, told The Daily Star.
Party insiders said the preparations for the council will begin once the BNP central leaders are released from jail.
Fifteen central leaders of the BNP, including three standing committee members and two organising secretaries, are currently behind bars in different cases filed in connection with violence during hartals and blockades in November and December.
Meanwhile, the party, which boycotted the 10th parliamentary polls and ended up having no representation in parliament for the first time since 1991, expects a landslide win for the candidates it would back in the upcoming upazila parishad elections beginning in February.
Once it comes out victorious in the upazila polls like it did in the five city corporation elections last year, the BNP will go for a vigorous movement and force the government to call a midterm election, sources said.
Before waging the movement, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and other top brass of the party will also visit different parts of the country to mobilise public support in favour of their demand.

Mahbubur Rahman said through these visits will give the BNP grassroots new directions and spur them to forge a peaceful movement to "restore democracy in the country".
"The council will also give us a scope to examine our previous actions and correct the past mistakes that may have been made," he added.
Through the council, an indicator of democratic practice within a party, the BNP is likely to bring structural changes in its standing committee and other committees and appoint the secretary general.
Insiders, however, said the party fears that infighting might take hold like it did before the last central council in 2009.
Intra-party feuds and conflicts had marred a number of councils of the grassroots committees of the
Leaders and activists hope the tested and dedicated people will be evaluated and picked for different important posts through the council this time.



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