What next for BNP?
Khaleda's son Tarique Rahman, also senior vice chairman of BNP, is supposed to run the party in her absence. But he has been in London since 2008 facing multiple charges of corruption.
Nevertheless, BNP leaders hope that Tarique will run the party as it is not necessary to remain physically present to do that in the era of technology.
“He [Tarique] can run the party from anywhere,” Nazrul Islam Khan, BNP standing committee member, told reporters yesterday.
Meanwhile, Tarique, now the acting chairman of BNP, in a statement issued after Khaleda was taken to jail, said the verdict was politically motivated and demanded her immediate release.
Commenting on how the BNP would function in the coming days, Nazrul said Tarique would run the party in consultation with the standing committee members.
“He is the second most powerful person in the party.”
Tarique was made the BNP senior vice-chairman at a council of the party in 2009. He had already left the country when the council took place.
According to BNP constitution, senior vice-chairman is its second-highest post. In the absence of chairperson, the senior vice-chairman can call for meetings of the standing and executive committees and can also exercise the powers vested in the chairperson.
BNP leaders hope that Khaleda would be released on bail soon and no major issues will arise during her absence.
“Until then, Tarique Rahman will be at the helm and the senior leaders will implement his decisions,” a senior leader told The Daily Star, wishing anonymity.
The party's routine organisational activities will go on under the supervision of its Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, the leader said, adding, however, that Fakhrul could not take any policy decisions.
A standing committee member wishing anonymity said Khaleda had already told the leaders what they should do.
Tarqiue also talked with Fakhrul and asked him to be patient and observe peaceful programmes, he added.
Party leaders also said they would not go for any tough programmes, adding that the senior leaders are expected to sit next week and decide the next course of action.
Before going to jail, Khaleda also instructed her party men to wage a peaceful movement, refraining from violent protests.
As a result, the party chose milder demonstrations for today and tomorrow instead of going for programmes like hartal.
Khaleda, the former premier, was prepared to land in jail as she had reportedly told her colleagues that the government was conspiring to keep her away from politics and to humiliate her.
The 72-year-old in the last few days had called for preserving BNP's unity at any cost as she feared that the government may divide the party and bring a section of its leaders to the next parliamentary elections set to be held in the end of this year.
“You will maintain unity at any cost as unity is strength,” a close relative of Khaleda told The Daily Star quoting her.
During meetings, she also urged BNP standing and executive committees and allies including Nazrul Islam Khan, AZ Mohammad Ali, Kaiser Kamal and Nawshad Jamir, to remain united.