BNP leaders and activists have become rejuvenated, after a hiatus, in Dinajpur district, what once was known as the party’s citadel. The leaders and activists of the district committee formed following the council around a year ago have taken to the streets and shown their strength in the district.
Although the ruling Awami League won all six parliamentary constituencies of the district, Dinajpur saw little visible development. District AL has an active committee, but committees of the front and associate bodies of the ruling party have long expired resulting in creation of two groups in the district. The ruling party men, however, maintain that what exists is not any feud, rather competition for leadership.
BNP eyes one-point movement
Several BNP leaders said Dinajpur, especially Sadar upazila, is known as BNP’s bastion as the party chairperson’s ancestral home is the district. Khaleda Zia’s elder sister Khurshid Jahan Haque was elected lawmaker from Dinajpur-3 in parliamentary elections in 1996 and 2001. A leadership crisis emerged after she died in 2006. As the party could not find any suitable candidate, BNP-Jamaat alliance’s partner Jatiya Ganatantrik Party’s (Jagpa) chief Shafiul Alam Prodhan was made candidate from the alliance in the constituency in the 2008 election. He lost to Iqbalur Rahim, the whip of the parliament.
In 2010, Lutfur Rahman and Mukur Chowdhury were given charges of president and secretary of the district unit in 2010. Mukur died in 2016 due to illness and Lutfur in 2020 in Covid.
District BNP’s secretary Bakhtiar Ahmed said leaders leaders-activists of the district are facing over 160 ‘political cases’. Over 4,000 leaders-activists who are accused in those cases have to appear before courts six-seven times in a month. Their normal life, businesses are hampered due to those cases.
Leadership crisis left Dinajpur BNP reeling for the whole 15 years of the current government as most of the important leaders of the party were battered by cases and harassment. Amid such a stalemate, Mofazzal Hossain and Bakhtiar Ahmed were made president and secretary in last year’s May. The turnout in BNP’s political programmes henceforth has increased.
Sources said 20 organisational units out of a total 22 got full committees.
Committees could not be announced in Chirirbandar and Khansama upazilas due to internal conflicts. The committees of Jubo Dal and Swecchasebak Dal were also formed. The leaders-activists of other front and associate bodies are also actively participating in the political programmes.
Candidates in 3 constituencies who are interested to contest in the election have put up posters and banners. However, district BNP’s secretary Bakhtiar Ahmed said they are not at all bothered about who will contest in the polls, rather they focus on realising the demand for a neutral polls-time government.
He said the party leaders and activists of the district are facing over 160 ‘political cases’. Over 4,000 leaders and activists who are accused in those cases have to appear before courts six-seven times in a month. Their normal life, businesses are hampered due to those cases.
Bakhtiar said he is accused in a total of 43 such cases.
District AL has two groups
Ruling party sources said the Awami League held its council last year’s 28 November after around 10 years. Full-fledged committee has already been formed. Dinajpur-5 constituency’s lawmaker Mostafizur Rahman Fizar and Altafuzzaman Mita were made president and secretary respectively. Sadar upazila and pourashava units were announced even before the district committee. Committees of several units of the district AL are yet to be announced. Moreover, tenures of one thirds of the associate organisations expired four to ten years ago.
The last council of Dinajpur district unit of Jatiya Sramik League, the labour front of AL, was held last time in 1997. The committee led by president Hamidul Islam and secretary Mohammad Alauddin has been running the organisation for the last 26 years.
Among the other front and associate bodies, Chhatra League held its council 5 years ago, Jubo League 4 years ago, Swechhasebak League 9 years ago, Jubo Mahila League 10 years ago and Krishak League 18 years ago.
Such stalemates in these front and associate bodies of the ruling party have led to a breakdown of the chain of command of the organisations.
The district AL is now divided into two groups. To the grassroots, one is known as ‘Fizar group’ and other as ‘Iqbal group’.
District AL’s publicity secretary Mostafizur Rahman said the associate organisations are the backbone of the party. These bodies need a revamp ahead of the general election to keep the party men's morale intact.
The district AL is now divided into two groups. To the grassroots, one is known as ‘Fizar group’ and other as ‘Iqbal group’. One group, mostly of district unit leaders, is led by Mostafizur Rahman Fizar, state minister Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury and Altafuzzaman Mita. The other group led by whip Iqbalur Rahim has Sadar upazila and pourshava units leaders in its fold.
The two groups observe national and party programmes separately.
Asked, Dinajpur Sadar upazila AL’s secretary and Shekhpura union parishad chairman Mominul Karim, who is known as adherent to Iqbalur Rahim, told Prothom Alo, “The party is big so the number of competent leaders is more here. It cannot be denied that a grouping is here over posts and other interests. But we are united in the greater interest of the party.”
District AL president Mostafizur Rhaman denied any lack of coordination in the party.
He said AL is a big political party and not one of any particular MP.