Former vice president of Dhaka University Central Students Union (DUCSU) Nurul Haque Nur is going to launch a new political party this month. The name of the new party is yet to be finalised but it might be either ‘Gana Adhikar Parishad’ or ‘Bangladesh Adhikar Party’. The organisers of the party said they are eying to participate the next general election independently.
Sources said organisers of the party wanted to make Gonoshasthaya Kendra's founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury as party chief. However, he does not want to take charge although he is interested to be in the party. The organisers now want a senior citizen of Zafrullah’s stature as the party’s chief. They have discussed with several persons to this end.
Zafrullah told Prothom Alo, “I don’t have the age to take charge of a political party. Mobilising a new party requires visiting the whole country while the party’s opponent is a fascist government.”
Sources close to Nurul Haque said he would be the main person of the party no matter who becomes its chief. The party would give priority to his plans and thinking and bring in young leaders from all sections of society.
The organisers are trying to bring in retired civil-military officials, educationists, and different political and non-political organisations under the party’s umbrella. Discussions are also on to bring in former politicians who are inactive for different reasons. Rastrachinta, Bhasani Onusari Parishad and some other organisations might merge into the new party.
Bhasani Onusari Parishad’s secretary general Shiekh Rafiqul Islam told Prothom Alo that four like-minded parties have agreed to form a united political party.
The party insiders said they plan to make senior persons presidents and young leaders general secretaries in the grassroots committees of the party. Committees would be formed in cities, districts and upazilas as soon as the party is floated and an application would be submitted to the election commission (EC) for registration as a political party.
Nurul Haque Nur told Prothom Alo, “We are planning to participate in the general election independently so that people consider us an alternative force. After forming a new party, our first political programme would be a movement tor restructure EC.”
He said the government would form a subservient EC if they are not pressurised.
Asked how the party would take part in elections if they don’t get registration, Nurul said, “EC is bound to register us as a political party if we fulfil the conditions. Our stance is, there would be no vote if we don’t get registration.”
Nurul Haque came to the limelight as one of the joint conveners of Sadharan Chhatra Adhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad, which led the movement to reform the quota system in government jobs in 2018. He was attacked on several occasions at that time. Nurul was elected DUCSU VP in 2019. Nurul and his associates plan to bring a new political party as they have faced multifarious obstacles in the last three years. He was attacked at least 13 times by the ruling party student wing and law enforcers. There are still 17 cases against him. Several cases have been filed against leaders and activists of the organization. Last March, three cases were filed with Motijheel and Shahbagh police stations after Chhatra-Jubo and Shramik Adhikar Parishad men clashed with police while protesting against the visit of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. Police filed cases against 69 people and arrested 54. Of them, 27 are still in jail.
Nurul is the coordinator of Chhatra-Jubo and Sramik Adhikar Parishad. Party insiders said they have been organising various programmes of public interest following the quota reform movement.
The organisers said they have an inclination towards the word ‘Adhikar’ (rights) as people of the country are devoid of many rights enshrined in the constitution right now. Especially peoples’ rights such as democracy, human rights, rule of law and right to vote do not exist. The party would play a strong role to restore those rights and that is why they want to keep the word ‘Adhikar’ in the party’s name. The party slogan would be ‘Janatar Adhikar, Amader Ongikar’ roughly translated as '(ensuring) peoples’ rights, (is) our commitment'.
Moreover, the word ‘Adhikar’ can be found on five committees formed consisting of people from different backgrounds. The committees are: Chhatra Adhikar Parishad, Jubo Adhikar Parishad, Shramik Adhikar Parishad, Probashi Adhikar Parishad and Peshajibi Adhikar Parishad. Another organisation would be formed soon named ‘Nari Adhikar Parishad’. These organisations would be included as the party’s wings and associate bodies.
“Peoples’ socio-economic position has seen a lot of change now. Everyone wants to live with dignity, they want an environment of political co-existence. We would uphold democracy and merit in our party.” Nurul told Prothom Alo.
*This story, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Galib Ashraf