According to sources, BNP will come up with a 4-point demand. The demands are elections under a non-partisan government, setting up a neutral election commission, permanent release of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and release of BNP leaders and activists and withdrawal of the cases against them.
Besides, the party also wants to raise a number of demands including freedom of expression, end of repression and the repeal of the Digital Security Act. Overall, the party can move forward with 10 to 12 demands.
Replying to the question whether BNP wants to get out of the alliance movement or election, a responsible leader of BNP told Prothom Alo that things are not like that.
BNP wants to launch a movement with all the parties for a free and fair election. They want to launch a movement against the ruling government. However, they want to keep the leadership in their own hands this time. Such a decision has been taken to clear confusion among the party activists and to make quick decisions. BNP is not pushing away any party, rather it always wants to form a bigger anti-government alliance.
BNP took part in the 2018 election under the leadership of Gono Forum president Kamal Hossain. Leaders at different levels of the party think that the result of that election was not good for the BNP. During the recent series of meetings, the party leader called for BNP to lead as a major party.
Senior leaders of the party like former minister Hafizuddin Ahmed and Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal also think that BNP should march forward under Khaleda Zia’s leadership. The idea of excluding her if she is in jail is not appropriate for the party, according to these leaders.
However, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir did not want to make any comment regarding the party’s strategy right now. He said they are holding a series of meeting. Different types of statements and opinions are coming up. The party is making a plan for the upcoming election. There is no alternative but to wage a movement to realise their demands. He said the people would be informed about the party’s stance and activities through the media soon.
A member of BNP’s standing committee thinks that Khaleda Zia was kept out of the leadership during the last election. The leaders of the party said during the recent meetings that they did not take this issue lightly.
Therefore, the party leaders want to put the leadership in the hands of the BNP chairperson even if an alliance is formed. Besides, they want to make it clear at the grassroots level that the party is united under the leadership of Tarique Rahman and there is no confusion about this leadership.
Several sources of BNP said this time too, the party would work to bring all the opposition parties under the same platform. BNP would also stay by the side of the parties who are not willing to form an alliance so that they can conduct a simultaneous or separate movement on their own.
However, regardless of the parties involved in the anti-government movement, BNP wants to take the lead and almost all the leaders of the party believe that they have that capability.
*This report appeared in the print and online editions of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Ashish Basu