With the BNP not waging any noticeable street agitations following Khaleda Zia's jail sentence on Thursday, the Awami League camp appears to feel greatly relieved.
The ruling party top brass believe their political archival will also not be able to launch any movement ahead of the upcoming national election, according to insiders.
AL leaders had thought the BNP would take to the streets if Khaleda was convicted. But the party could not “capitalise” on the situation even after its chairperson was sentenced to five years in jail, thanks to its “organisational weaknesses and the government's tough stance”, AL insiders say. Now the BNP will remain busy with its party chief's legal issues while the AL will take all-out preparations for the parliamentary elections slated for December, they added.
"We thought that BNP men will stage agitations across the country after the verdict against Khaleda Zia, but they failed to do anything. Now we are relived and think the BNP will not be able to do anything in the coming days," a secretary-level AL leader told The Daily Star, wishing anonymity.
On Thursday, AL leaders were on alert and stayed at the party offices across the country to watch BNP's move.
They became worried when several thousand BNP leaders and activists joined Khaleda's motorcade at Moghbazar and different TV channels were broadcasting it live. Central AL leaders then phoned owners of several TV channels and the information ministry to stop the live coverage as they thought the gathering might encourage BNP leaders and activists in other parts of the country to come down into the streets, claimed sources.
The Daily Star could not verify the claim independently.
AFTER THE VERDICT
The central leaders of the ruling party have instructed its units not to be overenthusiastic as it will give a negative message to the people, said sources
AL President Sheikh Hasina also has asked her party leaders not to talk much about Khaleda's landing in jail, said sources.
Some insiders, however, added that the ruling party has planned to carry out a campaign to brand Zia family members as corrupt people because what they say is it has been “proved” by a court verdict in the Zia Orphanage Trust case.
Pro-government people have already started the campaign on social media, they mentioned.
Party leaders think the BNP chief may also be found guilty in Zia Charitable Trust graft case, verdict of which is likely to be delivered soon.
Besides, AL men will highlight the government's development activities over the last nine years to woo voters in the next parliamentary election.
Yesterday, AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader and Publicity Affairs Secretary Hasan Mahmud at two separate programmes came down heavily on Zia family for their "corruption" and criticised the BNP for making a "corrupt" Tarique Rahman the party's acting chairman.
Talking to this newspaper, AL Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said they are not bothered about BNP.
“Right now, our main concern is to win another term and for this we are preparing for the election. We will highlight our success stories to convince voters that the Awami League government needs to continue to complete the ongoing development activities,” he said.
Some AL sources say BNP's apparent peaceful attitude after the verdict made some ruling party leaders suspicious.
One of Khaleda's counsels on Thursday said the BNP chief had urged the country men not to violate law and requested all to hold peaceful programmes to protest the verdict.
According to insiders, the AL will settle its strategy after seeing what BNP will do in the coming days. If the BNP takes to the streets, the ruling party men will face them, they added.