BNP 'upbeat' after chief's call for unity
12:00 AM, February 05, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:15 AM, February 05, 2018

BNP 'upbeat' after chief's call for unity

Plans 'peaceful protest' if Khaleda convicted on February 8

Saturday's national executive committee meeting was a big morale boost for the BNP as it helped remove confusions and divisions within the party, say its senior leaders.

At the meeting, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia called upon leaders and activists to remain united ahead of the next parliamentary elections. In response, fellow party men expressed absolute loyalty to her and said they would not participate in polls without her.

“We are happy and the executive committee members are also upbeat after the meeting. Madam [Khaleda] at the meeting said there is no room for any reckless decision and all have to remain united in the coming days,” BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told The Daily Star yesterday.

At the same time, he said executive committee members shared views on whether the party should participate in the election. They also vowed to wage a movement if Khaleda is convicted in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.

A special court has fixed February 8 for delivering the verdict in the case. If Khaleda is sentenced to more than a year in jail, she will be disqualified from contesting the next parliamentary elections, likely to be held in December.

BNP leaders had fear that the government might try to split the BNP and the 20-party alliance if Khaleda is convicted, party insiders said earlier.

“The government has been trying to split the party for the last 10 years but failed. It will not succeed this time as well,” Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, party's standing committee member, told this correspondent.

Ruhul Quddus Talukdar Dulu, organising secretary of the party, said, “In a big political party, there might be some grievances over posts and positions. But yesterday's [Saturday's] meeting brought us all together.”

Helaluzzaman Talukdar Lalu, an executive committee member, said, “Madam [Khaleda] told us that she has nothing to lose as she lost her husband, her one son and her house. So, she is not afraid of anything. We told her that we also have nothing to lose.”

Nazrul Islam Manju, another organising secretary, said, “We, all the central leaders, will take to the streets if Khaleda Zia is convicted. We will stage hunger strike and if required we will go to jail.”

KHALEDA GOING TO SYLHET

The BNP chief will go to Sylhet today and offer Fateha at the shrine of Hazrat Shahjalal (RA). The tour is also part of her political campaign, according to party sources.

Last night, Khaleda sat with the party's standing committee members at the BNP chief's Gulshan office to chalk out its future course of action.

Standing committee members were happy with the outcome of the national executive committee meeting. The committee decided on a large gathering of activists and leaders in Dhaka on February 8. 

It decided to go for “peaceful protest” programmes if Khaleda was convicted and that the BNP would not call programmes like hartals and blockades.

A number of standing committee members said Khaleda could hold a press conference on February 7 to explain the political situation in the country. However, she would decide on it after returning from Sylhet.

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