In the absence of its chairperson, Khaleda Zia, the unity within the BNP is almost in tatters, with some leaders tendering their resignation over growing differences with the top brass.
BNP vice chairman and former foreign minister M Morshed Khan has already handed in his resignation, while the party’s standing committee member Lt General Mahbubur Rahman said he too did so two months ago.
Although they officially said they were stepping down from their posts due to personal reasons, speaking to the media on different occasions, both said otherwise.
They alleged that there was no democracy within the party and a number of senior leaders were aggrieved over the leadership of party acting chairman Tarique Rahman.
Lack of organisational activities and programmes demanding release of Khaleda Zia, not getting any party nominations, being unable to run their business without any hassle, and feeling devalued by the party’s top leadership are the reasons that have led to the latest resignations, sources said.
A section of senior leaders has not been able to accept Tarique’s leadership or his organisational decisions, which were made “ignoring the opinions of party leaders”.
Some, however, think there are other important factors at play here.
“We should not expect politics to be in our favour all the time. There will be adverse situations. We have to face those. Those who resigned, did so on personal grounds and there is no ideological issue,” Goyeshwar Chadra Roy, BNP standing committee member, said.
He also said he was against participating in the election while Khaleda was in jail, but the party did not agree to that.
“That is the beauty of a party. If I resign from the party expressing grievances, then I am not a democratic person,” Roy said.
Khaleda Zia has been behind bars since February 8 last year following a court verdict on corruption charges.
Party leaders said since she was sent to jail, the BNP failed to wage any movement to mount pressure on the government to release her.
“The party participated in the election and the lawmakers joined parliament. But neither the standing committee members nor the other leaders were aware of these issues. Who took these decisions?” a vice chairman of the party, wishing not to be named, told The Daily Star.
He also said Khaleda may not have been fully involved in how the matter unfolded.
Party sources said although many in the top brass were frustrated over the current leadership, they did not want to make tough decisions while Khaleda was in jail.
“The way the party is going is embarrassing. If I resign from the party right now, party leaders and activists will call me a traitor. On the other hand, the way the party is being run, it is tough to do politics with prestige and honour,” a vice chairman of the party, said.
BNP Joint Secretary General Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal, on the other hand, said Tarique did not take any decisions alone, but rather consulted with the standing committee members.
“So, if anyone blames Tarique Rahman for everything, then they might have other agendas on their minds,” he said.
BNP vice Chairman Shamsher Mobin Chowhdury, Mosaddek Ali Falu, Enam Ahmed Chowdhury and some other senior leaders have already resigned from the party on different grounds.