BNP 'gets Khaleda's nod'
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has given the nod to her party's plan to join the upcoming parliamentary polls and enforce a series of agitation programmes in the run-up to the election, party insiders said.
Khaleda was released from the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) yesterday and taken to a makeshift court set up inside the old Dhaka central jail. She was produced there in connection with the Niko graft case.
Khaleda gave the signal after BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir briefed her about the plan, taken up by the party's executive committee, on the court premises, insiders said, adding, Fakhrul was accompanied by several other BNP leaders.
The BNP chief had been admitted to the hospital on October 6 following a High Court order.
Contacted, Fakhrul said he had a discussion with Khaleda and that he enquired about her health.
He did not make further comments.
Later in the day, the BNP leader, however, shared his conversation with Khaleda with several other leaders, the insiders said, preferring anonymity.
The party plans to hold agitation programmes until the deadline for the electioneering ends to press the government to meet its demands, including an election under a nonpartisan government.
The insiders said Fakhrul talked to the BNP chief for little over a minute and informed her about the executive committee's decision.
In reply, Khaleda asked Fakhrul to also hold discussions with the leaders of the 20-party alliance and the Jatiya Oikyafront to finalise the agitation programme, they said.
Later, the BNP chief was sent to jail again.
The executive committee meeting, attended by BNP vice chairmen, advisers and secretaries, was held at the BNP chairperson's Gulshan office on Wednesday. Thirty-two of the 35 secretaries, who attended the meeting, opined that a movement should be launched ahead of the election, party sources said.
"We have no alternative to a movement. However, we will prepare for the election at the same time,” Mohammad Shahjahan, a vice chairman of the party, told The Daily Star.
BNP Organising Secretary Ruhul Quddus Talukdar Dulu said,” We have to go for a movement to realise our demands."
At the same time, the party will keep its doors open for talks.
Although the government is yet to accept any of the seven demands placed by the newly floated Jatiya Oikyafront, comprising the BNP and other parties, the BNP has no plan to boycott the election, said another senior leader.
The weeklong talks between the ruling alliance and 72 opposition parties ended on Wednesday, but all the major contentious issues that have created uncertainty ahead of the election remain unsettled.
During the second round of talks with the opposition alliance, Jatiya Oikyafront, the Awami League-led combine outright rejected the former's proposals for formation of a polls-time neutral government led by a chief adviser, dissolution of parliament before the announcement of election schedule and deferment of the election by a month.
The Oikyafront leaders threatened that they would launch movements to realise their demands if the government refuse to budge. The alliance will march towards the Election Commission as it announced the election schedule even after their repeated request to defer it.
TOP BNP LEADERS FOR POLLS
Although the BNP led-20 party alliance yesterday expressed frustration at the announcement of the polls schedule, many top BNP leaders are in favour of participating in the election to be held on December 23.
Soon after the schedule was unveiled, the BNP held a standing committee meeting.
BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman also primarily instructed party leaders and activists to prepare for the election, said party sources.
The BNP and the Oikyafront would press the Election Commission to reschedule the election, the sources said.
The BNP believes though formal dialogues ended, it was still possible to reach a solution through “informal” talks, added the sources.