BNP working at a synchronous movement
"Our talks with different political parties are going on. It is not possible to say exactly when the discussions will end. Basically, they will go on as the movement progresses."
The BNP has finalised the draft of a nine-point demand, aiming to wage a "simultaneous movement" with different opposition parties and platforms to force the government to step down and pave the way for a free and fair election.
According to the draft, the opposition party demands that the current government hand over power to a neutral one.
The other demands include the dissolution of the existing parliament; reconstitution of the Election Commission; arrest of price hikes of essentials; scrapping of the Digital Security Act, the Special Powers Act and all other black laws; and withdrawal of "false" cases filed against political leaders, alems and journalists, sources said.
The party also demands that the enforced disappearance victims be returned to their families and those responsible be tried. It seeks formation of a commission to find out those who have laundered money abroad.
The draft was finalised at a meeting of the BNP Standing Committee at BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's Gulshan office on Monday night. The party's acting chairman Tarique Rahman presided over it through video conferencing.
"We have finalised the draft of our demands through which we will move forward to wage a simultaneous movement. We will hold discussions with the opposition political parties and platforms to finalise the strategy of a simultaneous movement," a BNP standing committee member told The Daily Star yesterday, seeking anonymity.
Party sources said the movement will be carried out based on the nine-point demand.
The BNP has already held talks with 35 political parties and platforms on the issue. They include Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Rob), Nagorik Oikya, Biplabi Workers Party and Gonosamhati Andolon.
Party sources said almost all the parties, in the first round of talks, agreed on waging a simultaneous movement. And so that it happens, the BNP has kept the party-led 20-party alliance as well as the Jatiya Oikyafront inactive.
Talking to this newspaper, Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku, a member of the BNP Standing Committee, said, "Our talks with different political parties are going on. It is not possible to say exactly when the discussions will end. Basically, they will go on as the movement progresses."
He also said the party's Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir is likely to brief journalists today.
At a press conference on September 13, Fakhrul said the outline of a "simultaneous" movement to oust the government would be made public.
"We are working with various political parties to forge a greater unity and we have decided to finalise the strategy in the light of that...," he said.
From August 22 to September 10, the BNP staged demonstrations across the country, protesting the price spiral of essentials and fuel, and attacks on the rallies of opposition parties.
It is now holding protest programmes over the same issues in the capital's north and south city corporations, which will continue till September 27.
Over the last few weeks, many leaders and activists came under attack in different parts of the country. Three of them were killed during protests.
All these programmes have been organised by the BNP alone, but the party leaders said they would soon bring all the opposition political forces under a single platform to carry out a simultaneous movement.
Contacted, Mahmudur Rahman Manna, convener of Nagorik Oikya, said,
"The BNP has already held talks with us on waging a simultaneous movement. We hope to hold talks again as there is no alternative to waging a simultaneous movement to oust this autocratic government … We are ready for that…"
Ahead of the 2014 polls, the BNP observed protest programmes but those drew flak both locally and internationally because of their violent nature. The party could not wage any significant movement before the 2018 election.
This time, the party aims to wage a movement centring on pro-people issues and to take on board all the opposition political parties and platforms with the national election around 15 months away, according to party insiders.
The Election Commission has already unveiled the electoral roadmap, saying the polls would be held between November 2023 and January 2024.