BNP’s lopsided politics

The latest drama cen­tering oath taking by 6 BNP MPs-elect, and Fakhrul Islam Alamgir suddenly  ‘divulging’ the fact that it was done on the instruction of Tarique Zia, only convinced the critics that the party’s politics has yet to come of age. This face-saving tactic by BNP leaders, instead of convincing the public made them more suspicious than before. 

Though BNP supporters take pride in saying that the party had formed governed three times in the past, their activities or their deliberations on various political platforms still have little or no trace of maturity. 

If we look back we will see that in the run-up to the December 30 election, BNP’s senior leaders remained detached from one another, spoke incoherently in meetings, failed to give straight answers in press conferences, failed to give leadership in any big andolon (mass movement), acted in bizarre fashion and in actuality looked like a bandwagon lost in the prairie. They were not in regular touch with their own people in the districts and upazilas. 

Only days before the 30 December elections the high-command resorted to rampant nomination business without even trying to hide the facts. Nomination of candidates was done by Tarique Zia from London via video conferencing and allegation that candidates had to pay crores to get the ticket was endemic those days. It has been alleged that candidates who had no support in their constituencies obtained tickets paying hard cash. 

Those fair weather birds sat in meetings with Tarique Zia while the grassroots leaders and workers were kept out of reach by the central leaders. The party decision to join Dr Kamal Hossain’s Jatiya Oikyafront had delivered a lethal blow to the moral of the dedicated workers and supporters. 

Coming back to the present enactment of drama, we saw that defying party embargo, on 29 April four (4) lawmakers-elect from Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) have taken oath to sit in the 11thparliament. 

The four MPs are Harun Ur Rashid from Chapainwabganj-3, Aminul Islam from Chapainwa­bganj-2, Ukil Abdus attar from Brahmanbaria-2 and Mosharraf Hossain from Bogura-4 parliamentary constituencies. The oath ceremony was conducted by Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban. About four days earlier BNP MP Zahidur Rahman, has taken oath as MP.  

Political analysts tend to believe that 

true to BNP’s birth in a non-political

 environment, its politics did not 

mature in all these years. At the 

moment it is sailing like a ship with 

no rudder to keep it on course. The

 grassroots leaders and workers have

 no one to look up to as its central 

command remains splintered

When people and political analysts started to discuss that the 6 lawmakers have defied the high command decision, all on a sudden, on 29 April, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir called a press conference to announce that all the MPs-elect had taken the oath on the instruction of Tarique Zia. 

But the questions that are being asked by all quarters are if so then why the MPs were given various types of threats by the high command? Why was it publicized that they were under pressure from the government? Mirza Fakhrul did not clarify his position on some of these pertinent questions. He also remained unclear on the question of himself not taking oath. 

Why should not an elected MP take oath of office? All the 6BNP politicians have been voted to the position by the people of the respective constituencies on the understanding that their representatives would take oath, join and attend parliamentary sessions as per the constitution of the country. All other contestants from BNP had also taken part in the election on 30 December with the intentions of joining parliament as MPs. But because of their unpopularity they could not come out victorious. 

Common people and political analysts of the country are analyzing the oath taking of 6 BNP politicians as break down of the chain of command at the top level of the party.Embargo had come from various levels of top leadership of the party. It seems the drama on 29 April was enacted only to save the face of BNP before the public. 

The elected members of BNP had put forward their argument for going to take oath by saying that the people of their constituencies had cast their votes in their favour as they were the most popular leaders there. And that is why they have beaten all others in the polls to become MP elect. The voters wanted to see their leaders in parliament to speak on their behalf and work for their development. 

Political analysts tend to believe that true to BNP’s birth in a non-political environment, its politics did not mature in all these years. At the moment it is sailing like a ship with no rudder to keep it on course. The grassroots leaders and workers have no one to look up to as its central command remains splintered. 

Shahnoor Wahid is Advisory Editor, Bangladesh Post