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Speaking about the issue of leaving the BNP alliance, Khelafat Majlis central joint secretary general Muntasir Ali declined to make any direct comment.

He told Prothom Alo, "Any decision in the party is taken on the basis of the opinion of the majority members of the majlis-e-sura. However, I can say this much - we will determine our political strategy in the interests of the nation's overall welfare."

Khelafat Majlis is the only registered Islamic party in the 20-party alliance. The other Islamic parties in the alliance are basically factions of parties that had already left the alliance

Khelafat's majlis-e-sura meeting will be held after the Friday prayers at Seagull Restaurant in Purana Paltan of the capital city. Around 200 members of the majlis-e-sura, including the presidents and general secretaries from the party's district units all over the country, have been invited to attend. The meeting will be chaired by the party's amir, Maulana Muhammad Ishaq. A press conference has been organised there at 4:00 in the afternoon.

Khelafat Majlis is the only registered Islamic party in the 20-party alliance. The other Islamic parties in the alliance are basically factions of parties that had already left the alliance. These include Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, Islami Oikya Jote (Abdur Rakib) and another faction of Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (Mansurul Hasan), but these have no registration.

Some parties are leaving the alliance in frustration, some under the pressure. Some parties will go, some will stay. We will work with those who stay back
Jamiruddin Sircar, BNP standing committee member

It now looks like Khelafat Majlis, under the leadership of Maulana Muhammad Ishaq and Abdul Kader, are about to leave the alliance. Previously, on 14 July, the old party of qawmi alems, Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam Bangladesh, broke away from the BNP alliance. The party leaders on that day had called upon the home minister at the secretariat and within a few hours called an emergency press conference where they announced their departure from the BNP alliance.

Sixty Jamiat men had been arrested in March over violence centering the visit of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi during the twin programmes, marking the golden jubilee of Bangladesh and the birth centenary of Bangladesh's founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Several sources say that this forced the party to leave the alliance, though all the parties after leaving the alliance, including Jamiat, blame BNP's 'negligence' for their decision.

Khelafat Majlis secretary general Ahmed Abdul Kader also was arrested on 24 April in connection with violence erupting over the visit of Narendra Modi. Party sources have said that certain quarters in the party are thinking of leaving the BNP alliance in order to have him released. After all, Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam's leaders were released when they declared their decision to leave the BNP fold.

A four-party alliance was formed on 6 January 1999, comprising BNP, Jatiya Party, Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Oikya Jote. Saikhul Hadith Allama Azizul Huq's Bangladesh Khelafat Majlis was one of the main parties of Islami Oikya Jote, with comprised five parties at the time. Saikhul Hadith at one point broke away from the four-party alliance, but one faction remained behind. They formed the new party Khelafat Majlis and were registered.

The late Saikhul Hadith Azizul Huq and Mufti Fazlul Huq Amini at one time were said to support extremism. In 2016, Amini's party Islami Oikya Jote left the BNP alliance. Saikhul Hadith's Bangladesh Khelafat Majlis had left the alliance even before. Relations between Jamaat-e-Islami and BNP are not cordial at the moment either.

Speaking to Prothom Alo about the religion-based parties leaving the alliance, senior BNP leader and standing committee member of the party, Jamiruddin Sircar, said on Thursday, "Some parties are leaving the alliance in frustration, some under the pressure. Some parties will go, some will stay. We will work with those who stay back."

* The report, originally published in the print and online editions of Prothom Alo, has been rewritten for English edition by Ayesha Kabir

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