BNP reformists getting weaker
The pro-Saifur faction of BNP seems to be losing ground as most of the standing committee members of the party except three are siding with the pro-Khaleda faction.
The three standing committee members who are still endorsing the pro-Saifur faction are Saifur Rahman himself, Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan and Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman.
The other standing committee members who took part in the controversial meeting of the standing committee on October 29 last year without party Chairperson Khaleda Zia's consent, recently took a u-turn and deserted the pro-Saifur faction for the pro-Khaleda faction.
Three such members of the standing committee -- RA Gani, Khandaker Mahbubuddin Ahmad and M Shamsul Islam -- now actively endorse Khandaker Delwar Hossain, the Khaleda-appointed secretary general of the party.
A splinter group of BNP took shape following the particular meeting as the BNP standing committee appointed Saifur Rahman as acting chairman and Maj (retd) Hafiz Uddin Ahmed as acting secretary general of the party.
Another senior member of the committee Chowdhury Tanveer Ahmed Siddique, who also attended the October 29 meeting, is now maintaining close contact with the pro-Khaleda faction of the party, said BNP leaders.
Three standing committee members of the party are currently in jail on corruption charges. They are Chairperson Khaleda Zia, Moudud Ahmed and Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain.
RA Gani, Chowdhury Tanveer Ahmed Siddique, Khandaker Mahbubuddin Ahmad and M Shamsul Islam -- standing committee members who among others had attended the October 29 meeting a few months back proved that they have had a change of heart as they, in separate statements submitted to a court, said the event that took place on October 29 was not a meeting of the BNP standing committee -- it was only a tea party.
None of the standing committee members were visibly active in the party ever since the party was caught up in leadership crises following the October meeting.
A leader of the party regretted that the standing committee has failed to lead the party in Khaleda Zia's absence despite being the highest policymaking forum of the party according to the party constitution.
Last Wednesday RA Gani, now a Khaleda loyalist, called a joint meeting of the party's central leaders. The meeting was attended by standing committee members Mahbubuddin Ahmed and Shamsul Islam.
RA Gani had called the joint meeting after Hannan Shah, a pro-Khaleda leader, said last week that the standing committee members will run the party in the absence of Secretary General Delwar, who is now in USA for treatment.
A BNP leader told The Daily Star, "Most of the members of standing committee are with Delwar as he was appointed by the chairperson."
"Most of the members of standing committee have close contact with us and they will be vocal in due time," said a former lawmaker, also a close aide of Delwar.
Maj (retd) Hafiz, the acting secretary general who was appointed by the standing committee, earlier tried to hold a meeting of the standing committee, but his attempt to win the support of the policy makers failed as most of the members of the standing committee did not respond to his call.
Only Saifur Rahman, Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan and Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman attended his meeting whereas seven members of the committee were present at the meeting of the committee held at Saifur residence on October 29.