BNP, Ganatantra Mancha to announce one-point demand mid-July

Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Ganatantra Mancha have reached a consensus to declare a one-point demand in mid-July. The main issue of the one-point demand is the resignation of the incumbent government, but other demands including dissolution of parliament and formation of a polls-time government will also be added to the declaration of the one-point demand. Leaders of BNP and Ganatantra Mancha said they would start the simultaneous movement from the last week of July on the basis of the one-point demand.

BNP and Ganatantra Mancha had been trying to finalise a ‘joint declaration’ as the basis of the simultaneous movement, but it didn’t take off ground as there were differences on several issues between the two parties.

Leaders of BNP and Ganatantra Mancha said they reached a consensus to wage the simultaneous movement on the basis of the one-point demand for the sake of movement instated of being rigid on a joint declaration.

A meeting was held between the top leaders of BNP and Ganatantra Mancha on 26 June. At the meet, they discussed on the one-point declaration and programme type of movement.

Several leaders who attended the meeting said leaders of both parties discussed openly after long. Issues on which both parties should compromise also came up in their discussion.

This correspondent talked to Ganatantra Mancha leaders. They said a meeting of the liaison committee, which was formed to coordinate among parties and coalition that are waging the movement, is scheduled to be held in the first week of July. The next course of action of the simultaneous movement will be announced after discussing at that meeting. Besides, BNP and Ganatantra Mancha have decided to declare the one-point of the movement in the second week of July and unveil their 'joint declaration’ as per their own proposals officially.

Ganatantra Mancha coordinator and Biplobi Workers Party general secretary Saiful Huq told Prothom Alo an announcement on one-point movement may come in the second week of July. Issues on which both parties share similar views have been added to one-point and issues that both differ will be discussed. New programme of simultaneous movement will be announced on the basis of this one-point.

BNP and Ganatantra Mancha said BNP had been waging simultaneous movement on a 10-point demand and Ganatantra Mancha on a 14-point demand. Now the draft of a one-point declaration has been finalised by including other demands with resignation of the government being the main demand.

The one-point declaration will include resignation of the present government, dissolution of parliament, formation of an election-time neutral government and holding a free, impartial, fair, inclusive and credible election under it, release of all political prisoners including Khaleda Zia, withdrawal of all fictitious cases, cancellation of abrupt punishment, and establishment of people’s economic freedom, voting rights and democracy through reforming constitution and state.

Opposition political parties and coalitions active on streets will make announcement to wage a simultaneous movement together on the basis of this one –point.

Speaking to journalists on 26 June, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said, “Our movement will gain momentum after Eid-ul-Adha. We have talked to other parties who are also waging simultaneous movement along with us. We will discuss with them and then accelerate the movement. ”

31 points for state reforms

BNP and other opposition parties and alliances started a simultaneous movement to oust the government on 30 December. Ganatantra Mancha wanted to finalised the declaration on simultaneous along with BNP before their first programme. However, it got delayed as the highest policymaking forum of the BNP took long to decide.

BNP has placed 10 points on simultaneous moment and 27 points on state reform. The party added four more point to it, drafting a 31-point demand. On the other hand, Ganatantra Mancha placed 14 points on their demands and reform of the political programme.

Ganatantra Mancha leaders said they will also announce 31 points on the ‘change of government and governance system’ like the BNP’s outline of structural reforms of state. There might have some difference in wording, but there will be similarities in many demands and both parties will announce their charters separately. Issues where both parties differ will be added to their own charter and both parties will disclose their stance on the state reform proposal or promise. However, once the programme is announced, they will simultaneously wage movement to oust the government.

Programme end-July

BNP and Ganatantra Mancha have announced programmes for the first three weeks of July. BNP’s three associated bodies -- Chhatra Dal, Jubo Dal and Swechhasebok will youth rally on 9 July in Sylhet and 17 July in Khulna and 22 July in Dhaka. Meanwhile, a woman's rally is supposed to be held in Dhaka. Ganatantra Mancha will begin a road march from Dhaka to Chattogram on 19021 July. Date of a new simultaneous movement will be announced after these programmes end.

Leaders of BNP and Ganatantra Mancha have come to a consensus on the people’s involvement and peaceful programme. They agreed to holding rallies, sit-in and siege programme instead of imposing shutdown or blockade. A senior Ganatantra Mancha leader said they have proposed to BNP not to hold road marches, sieges, sit-ins and grand rallies.

A top Ganatantra Mancha leader and Ganosamhati Andolan chief coordinator, Zonayed Saki told Prothom Alo Ganatantra Mancha and BNP differs on setting the agenda of programmes. Both parties are trying to come to an unanimous poison and a simultaneous movement will be started at a new level with the participation of the people, he added.

This report appeared in the online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Hasanul Banna