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Roadblocks in BNP’s quest for opposition unity

Staff Reporter:

The efforts of the major opposition party BNP to forge a common greater platform with all opposition parties have hit a roadblock, with little progress made due to a multitude of reasons, including disagreements between Islamist and leftist factions.

At the same time, the discontent of the allies with the BNP for the “unsuccessful” movement that failed to stop the 7 January general election has also delayed the overall movement of the opposition to realise their demands, including dissolving parliament and holding fresh general elections, insiders said.

“Our simultaneous movement with other opposition parties is still ongoing. If necessary, we all will take the decision about forging the movement under a greater platform,” BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan told the Daily Sun.

Speaking to the Daily Sun, BNP Media Cell member Sairul Kabir Khan said the party has been carrying out simultaneous movement with 39 opposition parties and organisations, while a total of 64 political parties boycotted the 12th national election.

BNP sources said the party took the initiative of forging the greater opposition platform in December before the national election, but the step was not implemented during that time due to various reasons, including differences of opinion among the allies of their simultaneous movement.

At present, the progress of forging the greater platform and carrying out simultaneous movement is going at a snail’s pace as the unhappiness of the allies with the BNP for carrying out an “unsuccessful” movement and differences of opinion have emerged freshly after the election.

“Implementation of forging the greater platform with all the opposition parties will take time as we passed a serious movement that has made the parties upset for the time being. However, the process of forging the greater platform is still underway,” Shahadat Hossain Selim, secretary-general of Bangladesh Liberal Democratic Party told the Daily Sun.

He claimed that there is no difference of opinion among the parties in forging the movement under a single platform and to carry on the anti-government movement simultaneously.

“Our movement couldn’t realise our demands as the Awami League government with the patronization of India has grabbed the power,” Selim, also a top leader of the 12-party alliance added.

Nurul Haque Nur, president of a faction of Gono Odhikar Parishad, said the issue of forging the greater platform led by the BNP is still under discussion among the parties.

“We are in the streets with programs of simultaneous movement. It will take time to make post-election decisions as the parties faced repression and oppression in the movement centering the 7 January polls,” he said.

Nur, also former DUCSU vice-president said 63 political parties boycotted the recently held general election and most of the parties agreed to the decision of the single platform under the leadership of the major opposition BNP to wage a strong movement again.

The opposition BNP, along with other parties and organisations, forged a movement targeting to stop the general election under the party in power.

After BNP’s 28 October rally in the capital was foiled following a clash between the party activists and law enforcers, the opposition party and its allies observed 23 days of nationwide blockade in 12 phases and five days of hartal in four phases to realise their demands but to no avail.

Insiders said there is a difference of opinion among the allies of the BNP over forming the single greater platform, as the leftist political parties that are in simultaneous movement have expressed objections to forming any common platform with Islamist parties, including Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami.

Wishing not to be named, a top leader of Ganatantra Manch, a coalition of six political parties, mostly leftists, told the Daily Sun, “Some pro-Jamaat leaders in the BNP want to forge a greater platform through keeping the Jamaat but we do not want to.”

BNP sources said there is also a difference of opinion among the senior leaders of the party as a group of the leaders view that the party should not go for any platform instead of carrying out simultaneous movement, while another group wants the single platform of all the opposition parties who boycotted the 7 January national election.

BNP sources said the party’s Standing Committee members Nazrul Islam Khan, Abdul Moyeen Khan, and Vice-Chairman Barkatullah Bulu maintain liaison with other opposition parties while another Standing Committee member Salahuddin Ahmed virtually joins the top leaders of other parties sometimes.

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