Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury suggested BNP to take back home Khaleda Zia’s granddaughter, Zaima Rahman, from London to rejuvenate the party rank and file.
Speaking at a discussion meeting, he also asked Zaima’s father and BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman to engage in studies in the UK instead of sending messages from there to run BNP.
However, a group of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) leaders and activists sharply protested Zafrullah’s comments on Tarique and left the meeting venue.
Education Reform Initiative (ERI), a pro-BNP platform, arranged the programme at the Jatiya Press Club where former state minister for education ANM Ehsanul Haq Milon presented the keynote paper.
Speaking at the programme, Dr Zafrullah, known as a BNP sympathiser, said, "I think Zaima has to come back to Bangladesh (from London) if BNP wants to stage a comeback... otherwise, nothing can be achieved here with orders from outside the country.”
He also said it will not be possible to bring a change in power without the concerted efforts of all. “We all have to join a movement standing in the same line. The desired change will come if the current undemocratic and unelected government can be removed.”
Zafrullah, however, said BNP’s activities suggest the party has no desire to return to power. "BNP is now being run by messages coming from London one by one. All have to work together to ensure the fall of the autocratic regime. The biggest change is needed in the BNP's own house to do it.”
He also said BNP leaders and activists cannot realise that the government has been pushing Khaleda Zia towards death. “If they (BNP) want her release, I’ve repeatedly said, Tarique should remain silent for two years. “You can get involved in studies in the UK. There’re many ways to study there.”
At this time, JCD central leader Omar Farroque Kausar interrupted Zafrullah and protested his remarks on Tarique.
"Sir, who’re you of BNP? You always make derogatory remarks about the BNP,” Kausar said, pointing at Zafrullah.
In reply, the Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder said, "I’m nobody of BNP. But I’ve the democratic right to speak up. Try to realize what I’m saying for your (BNP’s) welfare. You don't understand what is good for you.”
Kausar countered Zafrullah saying, "We do understand what’s good for us. But you understand otherwise. You please don't talk about our leader (Tarique), and never do this. If you say anything about him further, we won’t be responsible if anything bad happens. Though you used to say many things against our leader, you can’t say anything about Joy (PM’s son Sajeeb Wazed).”
Later, the JCD leaders and activists left the programme venue.
Zafrullah said no one will be able to silence an elderly person like him by showing fear.
“Personality cult should be stopped. The ruling party engages in venerating a person. You’ve also seen the veneration of an individual here a few moments ago. One's over-adulation leads the nation to destruction,” he observed.