BNP split imminent | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 04, 2007 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 04, 2007

BNP split imminent

Bhuiyan rejects expulsion decision, 130 key leaders rally behind him

(L)Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, (R) Khandker Delwar Hossain

A split in BNP now seems only a matter of time as the detained party Chairperson Khaleda Zia expelled its Secretary General Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan and Joint Secretary General Ashraf Hossain from the party for their alleged conspiracies to break up the organisation.
Mannan Bhuiyan however categorically rejected the decision urging party members not to be confused.
Khaleda also appointed Khandaker Delwar Hossain as the new secretary general of the party.
The former prime minister made the drastic decisions on Sunday prior to her arrest the following morning.
Terming the decision of expulsions as 'undemocratic, unconstitutional and unacceptable', Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, at a news
briefing after a series of meetings with party leaders in his Gulshan residence, said," I firmly reject her decision as it is unusual and because everyone has the right to defend oneself."
About 130 leaders including a few standing committee members, former ministers and lawmakers in a joint statement also rejected the expulsions and termed the decision as 'undemocratic and unconstitutional'.
"Khaleda Zia herself pushed the party towards a rift through the undemocratic decision of expelling the secretary general and the joint secretary general," read the statement, signed by Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman, member of the national standing committee, the highest policy making forum of the party.
Meanwhile, Brig Gen (retd) Hannan Shah, an adviser to the party chairperson, yesterday at a news briefing held in his Mohakhali residence, said, "The chairperson expelled the two leaders according to the party constitution."
"An announcement will come from the detained party chief within the next 72 hours through her lawyers," he said when reporters asked him who will lead the party now in absence of Khaleda Zia. "But there is no provision in the party constitution for appointing an acting chairperson," he added.
On Sunday night, Khaleda talked to a few party leaders including Hannan Shah regarding party affairs and following the discussion she signed the two letters of expulsions and the appointment letter. She made the announcement when a judge ordered her to be sent to a sub-jail.
Later, after a meeting with the newly appointed Secretary General Khadaker Delwar and lawyers, Hannan Shah read out the letters of expulsions and the appointment letter to journalists.
Mannan Bhuiyan at a press briefing categorically termed the expulsions as 'undemocratic and unacceptable.'
"The announcement of the expulsions is undemocratic, unacceptable and against the party constitution. I am firmly rejecting the announcement," he said in a written statement.
He said, "The image of the party had been tarnished before the historic 1/11…we took necessary initiatives to restore it. Honest and dedicated party leaders and in fact all the people of the country supported the move."
"The regrettable divisive steps taken by the party chief at a time when the party is facing a crisis is making us anxious because the party unity should have been maintained at any cost," he said, adding that the expulsions are merely an expression of a divisive plot.
He urged all members to sincerely implement the reform initiatives announced by him, in the spirit of the party's founder slain president Ziaur Rahman's ideology, patriotism, honesty and efficiency.
Most of the party leaders already expressed their support for the reform proposal announced by Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, but a few others including front organisation leaders are still supporting the chairperson.
Mannan Bhuiyan on June 25 announced his reform proposal, which said a member of the party cannot be the chairperson or the secretary general for more than two terms. Later he also announced a comprehensive proposal and taken initiatives to hold a party council amid the state of emergency.
The chairperson and his supporters rejected the idea as they said they also wanted to implement their own reform proposals, and that the council can only be held once the ban on indoor politics is lifted.
Khaleda Zia later alleged that a group of leaders led by Mannan Bhuiyan were hatching conspiracies to break up the party, but Bhuiyan rejected the allegation.
Bhuiyan and his followers tried to contact field level leaders in the last two months to get their support for his reform proposal, while Khaleda Zia talked to leaders at home and abroad through teleconferences.
"We are representing the party," Mannan Bhuiyan said at the briefing when a reporter asked him whether they will form a new party as the party chairperson had expelled him.
"We will take necessary decisions through discussions among ourselves," he said when asked whether they will take any action against the party chief.
When his attention was drawn to the BNP constitution, which says the chairperson may expel anyone anytime, he said, "It is not logical to abuse power just because someone has it."
About 130 BNP leaders in a joint statement issued yesterday also rejected the expulsion of Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan and Ashraf Hossain by party cheif Khaleda Zia and termed the decision as undemocratic and unconstitutional.
Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman read out the statement during a news briefing held in Bhuiyan's Gulshan residence yesterday evening.
"Khaleda Zia herself pushed the party into a rift through the expulsions in an undemocratic way, at a time when the party unity should have been maintained," they said, adding that Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan had taken initiatives to hold a party council to have the reform proposal adopted to fulfil the people's expectations in the changed political situation.
"Leaders and workers got inspiration from the initiative of Bhuiyan, but Khaleda Zia pushed the party into a deep crisis through her decision to expel the secretary general and the joint secretary general," they added.
Terming Khaleda's decision as divisive and immature, they rejected it and urged all party members to remain united and to move forward with the reform process.
Standing Committee Members M Saifur Rahman and Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman, Secretary General Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, Deputy Speaker Akhtar Hamid Siddique, 17 former ministers and state ministers, and 110 former lawmakers are among the signatories of the statement against Khaleda's decision.
Although BNP has 12 members in the standing committee including detained Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain and Moudud Ahmed, only three of them signed the statement.
At the briefing only two of the 14 vice-presidents -- Maj (retd) Hafiz Uddin Ahmed and Kamal Ibne Yusuf -- were present with Bhuiyan, while another Vice-president MK Anwar had signed the statement though he was not present at the briefing
Among others Mofazzal Karim, Maj (retd) Hafiz Uddin Ahmed, Kamal Ibne Yusuf, Shah Abul Hossain, Maj (retd) Kamrul Islam, ZA Khan, MA Hakim, Ashraf Hossain, Zahir Uddin Swapan, Sardar Shakhawat Hossain Bakul, SA Sultan, Ali Newaz Khaiyam, Masud Arun, Nazir Hossain, Ziaul Haque Mollah, Nasirul Haque Sabu, Shahriya Akhter Bulu were present at the briefing.

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