The BNP-led 20-party alliance is set to finalise its plans to wage an anti-government movement this month focussing on “seizing the capital”.
The party is planning to hold a number of rallies on the outskirts of Dhaka to drum up public support in favour of their demand for a fresh election under a non-party administration, and to inspire the party leaders and activists to forge a tougher agitation in phases.
The BNP high-ups believe that their movement last year before the January 5 election failed to put enough pressure on the Sheikh Hasina government as it did not gain enough momentum in the capital.
“At one stage of our movement, specially from September to December last year, it felt like there was no government in the country except in Dhaka, as the capital city was almost cut off from the rest of the country at that time. Even then our movement failed because we had failed to wage a movement in Dhaka,” said a BNP standing committee member, requesting anonymity. “Therefore, we will keep Dhaka city in our main focus while waging the movement this time. Our target will be the fall of the capital. Otherwise, the movement will not succeed,” a joint secretary general of the BNP told The Daily Star last night. He too wished not to be named.
When BNP chief Khaleda Zia went to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah late last month, she held several closed-door meetings with the party's second-in-command Tarique Rahman, who had flown in there from London, over the movement and some other crucial issues.
A BNP leader, who met Khaleda and her elder son Tarique during the Umrah, told The Daily Star yesterday that Tarique advised his mother to go tough on the government through the movement aimed to boost the morale of party grassroots.
Against this background, BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir yesterday left the country for Singapore for medical check-up.
According to party sources, Fakhrul's main target is to talk with Tarique, who has been living in London since 2008, over the anti-government movement.
If Tarique agrees, Fakhrul will fly to London from Singapore to meet him. It is an open secret in the party that Tarique does not trust Fakhrul.
It is because of Tarique's opposition that Fakhrul is yet to become the secretary general of the party although more than three years have passed since he was made the acting secretary general after the demise of Khandaker Delwar Hossain, BNP leaders believe.
According to party insiders, the main aim of Fakhrul's Singapore visit is to convince Tarique and to win his trust. If Tarique decides not to meet him, Fakhrul will try other alternatives to communicate with the BNP senior vice-chairman.
To ensure a tougher movement in the capital, Khaleda brought changes in her party's Dhaka city unit in last month.