BNP to resume street agitation
The BNP plans to make preparations for the next national election while resuming street agitation alongside the legal battle to have its party chief freed from prison, said party insiders.
Besides, the party is collecting information from its grassroots level about potential candidates for the polls likely in December and working to prepare the election manifesto.
It is also planning to expand the 20-party alliance by including more parties in it, they said.
On Monday night, senior leaders from the BNP met at party Chairperson Khaleda's Gulshan office for about four hours. They discussed preparations for the national elections and Khaleda's release from jail.
BNP acting chief Tarique Rahman has already asked the party high-ups to give utmost priority to the expansion of the alliance, said the insiders.
Recently, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir went to London and held a meeting with Tarique. At Monday's meeting, Fakhrul informed the other leaders about his discussion with Tarique.
"BNP is a major political party. It is always ready to contest polls. However, what is important here is an atmosphere conducive to a free and fair election,” Fakhrul told The Daily Star yesterday.
Asked about the expansion of the BNP-led alliance, he said, "We are working on it."
In the coming months, the BNP wants to mount pressure on the government by expanding the alliance to realise its demand for an election-time non-partisan government.
The BNP-led combine boycotted the January 5, 2014 election which was held under the Awami League-led government. But this time, the party leaders hinted that they would not leave the election field without giving any challenge.
A senior BNP leader claimed that around 150 of the 300 constituencies would be stronghold of the party and candidates for the seats were almost finalised.
He said they were working to find the right candidates for the rest of the constituencies.
“We are prepared for the next election if it will be held in a free and fair manner under a non-partisan election time government and people get assurance that they can cast their vote without any fear,” Goyeshwar Chandra Roy, party's standing committee member, told The Daily Star.
BNP leaders believe chances of Khaleda's release from jail on bail are slim for the moment. Yet, the party will carry on the legal battle for her release. The BNP chairperson landed in jail in February upon conviction in a corruption case.
Besides, the party will resume agitation programmes, including hunger strike, demonstration and sit-in, to put pressure on the government so that Khaleda is freed.
As part of the programmes, party leaders and activists would stage demonstration across the country on Thursday.
BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi announced the programme at a press briefing at the party's Nayapaltan central office yesterday.
Rizvi, however, said Gazipur City Corporation (GCC) area would remain out of the purview of the programme. The GCC polls are scheduled to be held on June 26.
Party's standing committee member Moudud Ahmed said they would announce the next course of action after June 24 when court may decide on Khaleda's bail.
In line with its strategy, the BNP is contesting city corporation elections. It is now eyeing Gazipur mayoral polls after its participation in Khulna city election last month. The party will also join the Rajshahi, Sylhet and Barisal city corporation elections to be held on July 30.
On Monday night, BNP's senior leaders sat with Rajshahi and Sylhet district and city unit leaders to discuss the possible candidates for the upcoming city polls.
Meeting sources said the senior leaders prefer Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul and Ariful Haque Chowdhury who won the last mayoral polls in Rajshahi and Sylhet respectively.
Leaders willing to contest the mayoral polls in Rajshahi, Sylhet and Barisal can collect BNP's nomination forms today from the party's central office. Later, the party nomination board will interview the aspirants to pick the most suitable mayoral candidates.