ANALYSIS: BNP’s anti-government campaign plan and AL
October 7th, 2020 at 12:36 pm
ANALYSIS: BNP’s anti-government campaign plan and AL

by Omer Selim Sher in Ottawa,

The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which has been out of power for more than a decade, has been in turmoil for a long time. In 2015, they were only ‘fools’ by calling for an indefinite blockade. This is probably an example of a movement rejected by the people of Bangladesh. After that BNP was not seen on the streets to launch an anti-government campaign.

Many people thought that the BNP would launch a major campaign after the arrest of its chief, Khaleda Zia. But the party that has taken power in the “highway movement” failed to keep up to their expectation.

In the end, the “uncompromising” Khaleda Zia had to take bail with a bond, at the mercy of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. In the BNP, there are whispers that they are critisizing each other due to frustration. Why did the BNP take part in the election on December 30? Why did you go to Parliament? Is it necessary to participate in the by-elections? The BNP leadership is divided on these various issues.

The BNP is also having a lively discussion on the issue of the party-led Tarique-Khaleda domestic dispute.

Tarique Rahman from London only became vocal and active during the nomination trade. Khaleda Zia released on bail for more than 6 months. But she is indifferent to political activities. The BNP leaders themselves said that it was forbidden for Khaleda to raise political issues. The party, which is in such a wounded state, is now thinking of a movement. I hope they do not become a laughing stock like before. The BNP leaders have discussed among themselves. The party has decided to launch street protests by November-December.

A BNP leader said, “People are losing confidence in the government on various issues. So, if we go for a movement now, we will get public support.” So, in preparation for the protests, the party is already trying to stage a show-down against ongoing issues in different places.

All on a sudden the BNP is vocal about the alarming rise in commodity prices, corruption and rape. Suddenly, the leaders of the BNP burst into tears. A member of the BNP’s standing committee said, “The workers want a movement. Workers do not want to work in elections. Gradually they are getting frustrated. That is why the BNP is thinking of the movement under the pressure of the workers. ‘This leader further said, “The government is under a lot of pressure now. So, this is the time for movement.” But the question of whether the BNP leaders have the capacity to move is growing in the political arena. No one in the BNP knows how Khaleda Zia will be freed under any circumstances.

Many of the BNP leaders also secretly and overtly have an understanding and agreement with the government. “Is the announcement of this movement in this situation to console the workers”? Many are asking this question. Because most of the BNP workers think that BNP and its present leadership is incompetent to launch any worthwhile anti-government campaign.

The government and the ruling Awami League have to be cautious against such movements by the BNP. The government is addressing each issue one by one and resolving them gradually. Hope there will be no more movement like 2014/2015 during which innocent people were burnt to death by fire bombs.  The peaceful situation should not be compromised by such a movement.

The government and Awami League should guard against such plans and must take the threat of this mixed political club named BNP seriously. (Note: The article is based on various print media and electronic media news items.)

Omer Sher is a retired Professor of Economics at Algonquin College, Ottawa, Canada and a researcher on politics in South Asia.