BNP’s allies look into restructuring movement

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Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)'s alliance and coalition partners have faced the impact of BNP’s failure in the movement to ‘establish democracy and voting rights’. Several partners of the alliance are reportedly reviewing the weaknesses of the past movements and programmes. Besides, policymakers of allied parties and coalitions are looking for ways and strategies of how to restructure the movement.

After talking to leaders of several parties and coalitions that waged the simultaneous movement with BNP, it has been learned that they think any major programme on the streets is very unlikely till April-May for various reasons. SSC examinations, Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr coupled with imprisonment or absence of BNP leaders-activists have been the main barriers.

BNP alleged that about 15,000 leaders and activists of the party are behind bars. So no major programme is likely before their release. However, allied parties’ leaders think that flaws of the movement will be reviewed now inside and outside the party following the release of BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir from jail on 15 February, and the next course of action on the movement and programmes will be taken after that. Till then, no decisive programme will be taken.

Rashtro Shongskar Andolon chief coordinator Hasnat Abdul Qayum told Prothom Alo, “I think it is difficult to start a new chapter of movement without discussing the overall situation.”

Meanwhile, BNP started a week-long “Save the Country, Save the People” leaflet distribution programme across the country on 13 February, which will end on 19 February. The six-party ‘Ganatantra Mancha’ organised processions and rally in Dhaka on Friday protesting ‘bank looting and money plundering.’ Nagorik Oikya started a mass campaign titled “No to election of farce, mass signature for democracy” in Dhaka on 20 January. Besides, the 12-Party Alliance, Liberal Democratic Party, Amar Bangladesh (AB) Party, Bangladesh Gono Odhikar Parishad and other parties are observing various programmes protesting the election of ‘farce’ by this government.

Ganatantra Mancha top leader and Biplobi Workers Party general secretary Saiful Haque told Prothom Alo, “We will talk to other parties about how the movement can be restructured. We already held a meeting with BNP on 13 January and will meet again.”

Leaders of alliance partners said two things have become indispensable for anti-government parties following the failure of the movement. One is organisation restructure, and another is movement restructure. The past movement made it clear that it is not possible to make a movement successful without strengthening the organisation. Hence, the restructure of the movement depends on the restructuring of the organisation to many extents.

12-Party alliance spokesperson and Bangladesh LDP secretary general Shahadat Hossain Selim told Prothom Alo that BNP, as the leading party of the movement, must be more organised. Their activists must be prepared. Otherwise, BNP itself will not succeed, and other parties and coalitions as partners will not be successful either, he added.