Already cornered in politics after the drubbing in the 11th parliamentary election, BNP’s comeback now looks even harder, thanks to its growing infighting and desertion.
The party’s political fortune tends to fall further as some senior leaders have already deserted it while many others are expressing dissatisfaction over its acting chairman Tarique Rahman’s leadership.
According to party insiders, some senior and mid-level leaders are unwilling to do politics under the leadership of Tarique for many reasons.
Amid the growing discomfort, they are either quitting the party or gradually becoming inactive in politics.
Besides, they said, the party rank and file is also getting frustrated as BNP neither could wage any strong movement to free its chairperson Khaleda Zia nor take any effective action programme to bring dynamism in the party under Tarique’s leadership in absence of Khaleda Zia.
BNP standing committee member Mahbubur Rahman, vice-chairmen Inam Ahmed and Morshed Khan have already left BNP out of their anger at Tarique’s some decisions while there is a speculation that some other senior leaders, including party vice-chairmen Abdullah Al Noman, Shahjahan Omar, Hafizuddin Ahmed, Sahah Moazzem Hossain, Altaf Hossain Chowdhury and Chowdhury Kamal Ibne Yusuf, may quit the party.
Talking to UNB, some senior leaders said Tarique Rahman has been taking decisions on many major issues ignoring the senior leaders since Khaleda Zia went to jail, creating discontent among them.
They said many senior leaders were against taking part in 11th parliamentary election without Khaleda Zia, but Tarique took the decision unilaterally, and deprived many deserving candidates of the party nomination without any valid reason.
Besides, the BNP leaders said, their acting chairman decided to send party MPs-elect to parliament without the consent of party senior leaders, and he made Selima Rahman and Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku party standing committee members ignoring senior leaders like Abdullah Al Noman and Hafizuddin Ahmed.
They also said Tarique is also ignoring the opinions of party senior leaders in reorganising the party and its associate bodies.
Apart from their opposition to Tarique’s leadership, some leaders are also thinking of leaving BNP to protect their business and get rid of cases and “harassment”, the party insiders pointed out.
Contacted, BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said some leaders left BNP as they could not give the party any service due to their old-age complications. “They’re inactive in politics for a long time and their resignation will not harm the party.”
He, however, parried the question about party leaders’ dissatisfaction about Tarique’s leadership, saying he has no idea about it.
BNP standing committee member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy said it is natural that politics will not always remain in favour of all parties. “Adversity is inevitable in politics and politicians should face it with politics. “Party leaders might have anger, but the resignation can’t be a solution. Those who have resigned they did it to protect their own interests.”
Gayeshwar said he was also against joining the 11th parliamentary election under Sheikh Hasina keeping Khaleda Zia in jail, but the party did not pay heed to it. “But I shouldn’t quit the party for it. Our party at that time ignored my opinion but it can evaluate my many views now or in the days to come.”
Another party standing committee member Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury claimed that their party is moving ahead nicely under the leadership of Tarique. “Everybody is happy over his leadership, and there’s no discontent among our leaders about his any decision.”
He said some leaders have left BNP purely on personal ground. “There’s a scope for retirement in every profession, including in politics. It’s also fact that some leaders are losing interests in politics due to the prevailing situation as there’s no democracy and political space.”
About the allegation that Tarique promoted some leaders ignoring their seniors, Khosru said, “Political wisdom, competence and dedication and contributions to the party are evaluated in politics, not the seniority.”
BNP vice-chairman and former foreign minister M Morshed Khan quit the party on November 5 citing personal reasons.
But talking to UNB, Khan expressed his grievances over the way BNP is now run. “A big and popular party like BNP is now run through Skype. It’s very painful and regrettable.”
Tarique Rahman, the eldest son of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, has been acting as the party chief since she was jailed for corruption last year. He has been staying in London for over a decade now and takes part in important party meetings via Skype.
BNP standing committee member Mahubur Rahman also resigned from BNP two months back as he was forced to apologise for opposing Tarique’s assertion that Ziaur Rahman is the “father of nationalist nation of Bangladesh”.
Mahbubur Rahman admitted that he resigned from BNP as he was compelled to withdraw his comment and apologise. “There’s no democracy in the party while Tarique Rahman is running the party arbitrarily from aboard.”
Some BNP vice-chairmen and chairperson’s advisers, wishing anonymity, said now they have no scope to play any role in the party politics as Tarique takes all decisions only in consultation with a few standing committee members and party senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.