A message to rebuild relations with AL
The decision to cancel her birthday celebrations on August 15 was a message BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia wanted to send out that she is ready to rebuild good terms with political archrival the ruling Awami League and others, as per party leaders.
Insiders say that party high ups in recent times realised that some decisions, including that to celebrate the birthday on National Mourning Day and to keep ties with Jamaat-e-Islami, have distanced BNP from other political parties.
If Khaleda gets a positive response from political parties regarding the recent decision, she will rethink continuing ties with Jamaat, they said.
Sources said that despite being told not to gather in front of Khaleda's Gulshan office, some BNP leaders and activists did so with flowers. They were allowed inside to greet her on her birthday, sans flowers, they said.
Moreover, Facebook posts showed groups of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal men cutting cakes indoors with their leaders marking the day.
“Her recent move to forge national unity against militancy nearly failed as most of the opposition parties did not want to sit with her thinking she was holding onto her old stance,” a BNP standing committee member told The Daily Star preferring anonymity.
“I think this decision will give a message to them about her new thoughts,” he said.
Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury said the decision was a “forward looking” step amidst the deep crisis the country has been going through, especially that involving militancy.
The pro-BNP intellectual urged political parties not to avoid BNP and sit with it immediately to start discussions on issues, including on finding ways to drop Jamaat from the BNP-led 20-party alliance.
He said Kader Siddique had recently visited Khaleda at her residence requesting not to celebrate the birthday. Zafrullah himself said to have urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to reach out and revive the relationship with Khaleda.
“There must be competitors in politics but it is not fair that politicians can not tolerate one another,” he added.
BNP Standing Committee Member Moudud Ahmed said he was very much satisfied with the decision, observing that it opened a new path for fair politics and improved her image.
He said to have been pursuing the decision since 2008. “I suggested observing the event one day before or one day later, he said.
BNP yesterday evening organised a doa mahfil at its Nayapaltan headquarters. BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told journalists that they prayed for Khaleda, Senior Vice Chairman Tarique Rahman and late Arafat Rahman Koko.