Saifur resumes unity move as rivals to go to higher court
M Saifur Rahman, acting chairman appointed by the BNP standing committee, has taken a fresh initiative to reunite the party before talks with the Election Commission (EC) and the caretaker government.
Leaders of pro-Khaleda faction, meantime, are planning to appeal the High Court (HC) verdict dismissing detained Chairperson Khaleda Zia's writ challenging the EC's invitation to pro-Saifur faction for the dialogue on electoral reforms.
Insiders said Saifur, a former finance minister, has already called a few pro-Khaleda leaders including Khandaker Delwar Hossain, standing committee members RA Gani and Shamsul Islam, and the chairperson's adviser Brig Gen (retd) Hannan Shah with conciliatory proposals.
He also made a phone call to Speaker Jamiruddin Sircar and requested him to help the factions patch up differences.
Delwar did not agree to talk to Saifur. But others told the pro-reform stalwart that BNP remains united under the leadership of Khaleda Zia and Khandaker Delwar, secretary general appointed by her.
Asked yesterday about Saifur's phone call, Hannan Shah told reporters that he had been contacted several times in the past. “But now we'll have to think twice before responding to any such contact. When he [Saifur] speaks he speaks with all modesty but that departs when he acts,” he added.
Sources said Maj (retd) Hafiz Uddin, acting secretary general appointed at a standing committee meeting last year, too has tried to reach Delwar, but to no avail.
“We have taken steps to unite the party and discussions are on,” he told reporters after a meeting with a Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) delegation at his Banani residence.
"I want to go to the Election Commission for the dialogue along with all senior leaders including Khandaker Delwar, Hannan Shah and Goyeshwar Chandra Roy,” he said.
Referring to the court verdict, he reiterated that he is the 'lawfully appointed secretary general' of BNP, and said they would do whatever necessary to reunite the organisation.
Meanwhile, Delwar has discussed with lawyers their next course of action. Those siding with him said they are planning to appeal to the apex court against the HC decision.
“The High Court's verdict has disappointed many, but we welcome its observation that it has nothing to say about internal affairs of a political party,” Hannan Shah said.
The verdict of leaders and workers down to the grassroots level is something that matters most. They would determine who represent the mainstream BNP. He went on, “Led by Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain, we will go to the grassroots level to seek their verdict.”
JCD LEADERS MEET HAFIZ
A group of JCD leaders from Dhaka University, Tejgaon and Titumir College, and Dhaka south and north units yesterday expressed support for Maj (retd) Hafiz.
Urging the JCD leaders and workers to be united, he said meritorious and honest individuals would be elected to Chhatra Dal committees.
“We will surely win the next elections if we could have a united BNP and JCD. If permitted [by the government], we will hold a huge rally in Dhaka on May Day,” he added.