BNP stalwarts Mosharraf, Moudud push for leadership changes after electoral debacle…
Two senior figures in the BNP have pushed for a national council for a radical shake-up in the party leadership after its debacle in general elections.
Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain and Moudud Ahmed, vocal leaders who sit on the policymaking National Standing Committee, called for the reforms at a discussion chaired by Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Friday.
They had a handful of leaders and activists in their audience in the event held at the Supreme Court Bar Association Auditorium in Dhaka.
“The party must be restructured through a council. The tested leaders and activists who are comparatively more devoted must be brought to the leadership,” Khandaker Mosharraf said in his speech as chief guest.
“And we, who have been identified as failed ones, must leave the posts for the youth. Only then can the BNP turn around,” he added.
The BNP, which sat out of parliament after the violent boycott of the 2014 elections, joined the Dec 30 general polls under the umbrella of the Jatiya Oikya Front alliance headed by Dr Kamal Hossain.
With their Chairperson Khaleda Zia in jail for corruption and her son and party’s acting chief Tarique Rahman in exile in London, the party managed only seven seats.
Their archrival the Awami League has formed government for the third consecutive term after winning the election with a landslide.
It was the biggest election defeat for the BNP formed by Bangladesh’s first military ruler Ziaur Rahman four decades ago.
The BNP and its partners have rejected the results. They have demanded fresh elections alleging widespread vote rigging and intimidation of their candidates and supporters. They say fair polls are impossible with a partisan government in power .
“We lost in 2008 after being subjected to a similar conspiracy. Our leaders and activists across the country turned around bravely later after a council. That’s why the government was afraid of organising fair polls on Dec 30,” Khandaker Mosharraf said.
The BNP has no alternative to organising another council to overcome the current situation, he observed.
Moudud also said those who suffered greatly during the party’s bad times must be brought to the fore to reform the party.
“We, the elderly, will step aside if necessary. But this party must survive. The only way for this (to happen) is reforms. And we must do it within a few months. Only then will we be able to turn around,” he added.
Khaleda was re-elected chairperson and Tarique senior vice-chairman in the last council of the BNP held on Mar 19, 2016.Mirza Fakhrul, who was elevated to the post of secretary general from acting secretary general at the time, has apparently been running the party since Khaleda was jailed in February last year.
The party activists do not see signs of either her freedom or Tarique’s return anytime soon. Tarique has been in London for over a decade. He is also sentenced to up to life in jail for corruption, money laundering and the deadly Aug 21, 2004 grenade attack.
“We must get to light from darkness. The learned discussants have said the youth must come forward. The country is yours (youths’). You must save it and ensure your right to vote,” Mirza Fakhrul said.
“You will save the country in the future. That’s what Ziaur Rahman has taught us – move forward and never face defeat. You will be defeated if you feel defeated,” he added. Credit – bdnews24