Khaleda keen on uniting BNP for next election
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, with a view to putting up a good fight in the next parliamentary election, has set twin goals - to restore discipline and strengthen unity at all levels of the party.
She also intends to reach a political consensus among pro-democratic political parties on streets movement, participation in the next election and formation of the government.
BNP insiders said the recent suspension of two leaders of BNP's Chittagong unit was a firm indicator of how desperate Khaleda Zia is to restore discipline in the party.
She is also working on plans to invigorate the party's field level activities to compel the government through peaceful movement to hold inclusive, free and fair parliamentary polls around the end of the next year or in early 2019, BNP leaders said.
Meanwhile, BNP is trying to mend the rifts in its rank and file and forge a strong alliance with like-minded parties ahead of the election, they said.
"Khaleda Zia wants to stitch all the wounds (both in the central and grassroots leaderships) so they become a formidable challenge to the government," BNP Standing Committee Member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury told the Daily Observer.
"No one relinquishes power without a movement. Forcing the government to hold a credible election under a neutral administration is also part of BNP's movement," he added.
Khaleda Zia is desperately trying to remove misunderstandings and grievances from the party over the years. Party insiders say this has dampened the spirits of many party workers and activists who see the next poll as a crucial test to their survival in active politics.
BNP on Wednesday temporarily suspended its two top leaders of Chittagong south and north units for involving in activities against the party's discipline.
They are Chittagong district south unit General Secretary Gazi Shahjahan Jewel and Member Secretary of Chittagong north unit Kazi Abdullah Al Hasan.
Besides, BNP Organising Secretary of Chittagong division Mahbubur Rahman Shamim has been asked to carry out his responsibilities properly and cautiously to avoid disciplinary action.
Meanwhile, sources said The BNP Chairperson is contemplating similar actions against several senior leaders of the party soon amid growing feud and indiscipline in the party.
Recently, two factions of BNP's Rajshahi district unit engaged in clashes at a workers meeting in presence of Standing Committee Member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy.
Besides, rival party factions scuffled during workers' meetings in several places including Barisal, Dhaka and Jhenaidah.
After the BNP sent a proposal and took part in talks with President Abdul Hamid on forming the new Election Commission, there have been speculations in the political arena that Khaleda Zia has "softened" her stance as she is preparing to take part in the next parliamentary election.
But an election without "level-playing field" and if it is held under the incumbent government could be suicidal, some BNP stalwarts feel.
Amidst the speculations, the BNP chief has spoken about 'movement' again along with party reform.
Without any concrete decision, BNP is also continuing discussion with several political parties, especially those which did not take part in the last national election.
Of those, the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Ganaforum, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), Krishak Sramik Janata League and Bikalpadhara will get the call.
The BNP Chairperson wants to reach a political consensus among the leaders of the parties on streets movement, participation in the next election and formation of the government, sources said.
About the expansion of the BNP-led 20-party alliance, BNP Standing Committee Member Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain told the Daily Observer: "Our effort will be on to include several more political parties in our movement to restore democracy in the
Primarily, BNP will place a framework for an election-time government before the nation and then will contact the other political parties, he added.