Leadership crisis weakens, sinks BNP
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), founded by military dictator General Zia while in power and formed government twice after restoration of democracy in 1991, is in total disarray now following the last parliamentary elections as leadership crisis gripped the party.
Currently, it is a much-discussed issue in the country what is the future of the BNP against the backdrop that BNP faced debacle in December 30 elections and it could not wage any movement even after the opposition parties' claim of vote dacoity by the ruling Awami League and its allies.
Frustration reigns supreme among the BNP top ranks as well as the leaders and activists across the country. Most of the senior leaders of BNP are utterly frustrated and they are being not seen serious in party activities as the party acting Chairman Tarique Rahman, self-exiled in London to escape from imprisonment imposed by the courts in Bangladesh, is the ultimate decision maker in every matter.
The senior leaders could not choose any party candidate in the last national elections as Tarique himself made the selection through Skype from London even though the senior leaders knew much better than Tarique about the real condition in the country. In the nomination process, a huge chunk of money was allegedly traded.
Facing debacle, the BNP rejected the December 30 polls and demanded a fresh election. They declared not to join the parliament. However, in a dramatic twist, all the MPs-elect of BNP except Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir took oath at the behest of Tarique. The top leaders in the party present in the country had no knowledge about such decision.
Mirza Fakhrul was ordered not to join the parliament as otherwise he would be the leader of the BNP being the party Secretary General and also the leader of the BNP in the parliament in absence of Tarique in the country and Khaleda Zia who is languishing in jail now, according to BNP insiders.
The rationale as presented to bar Mirza Fakhrul from joining the House was that he was entrusted with the duty to organize the party and to wage movement. However, the BNP did not consider that rationale when they nominated Mirza Fakhrul to contest the elections. If Mirza Fakhrul was not given nomination to bolster the party, the rationale may seem rational. At the same time, what was the fault of the electorates in Bogura-6 constituency by electing Mirza Fakhrul when other MPs joined the parliament.
If other BNP MPs are allowed to join the parliament what is the rationale that Mirza Fakhrul was prevented to take oath as MP. If it because he had the opportunity and capability to become an important leader in absence of Begum Zia and Tarique Rahman. It is unfortunate that Fakhrul became the victim of the whims of Tarique who wants to control the party from abroad. Joining parliament by BNP also angered many allies of BNP.
Self-contradiction of BNP in its decisions makes the party a laughing stock in the country. BNP central leader Rumeen Farhana who very recently took oath as an MP of women reserved seats termed the parliament "illegal". If the present parliament is illegal then why Rumeen Farhana and other five MPs of BNP joined the 'illegal parliament'. What a self-contradiction!
Another self-contradiction of BNP is that they claimed that the AL and its allies were involved in gross vote rigging and other electoral irregularities but the BNP lawmakers filed only 80 cases in the Election Tribunal by February while elections took place in 300 seats. The cases did not see any development since then. The Awami League has assumed state power for three straight terms. Seeing no light, many BNP leaders are now joining Awami League in many areas in the country.
The BNP could not succeed even though it could stage a strong movement in 2013 and 2014. Since then, they could not wage any strong movement, even after the jail of its chairperson Khaleda Zia in 2018. And they could not wage movement even after claiming vote dacoity in the previous elections. Against this backdrop, many in and out of BNP pose question if it heading towards the fate like now defunct Muslim League.