Infighting, lack of alternative credible forerunners, jailing of senior BNP leaders, dilemma over dealing with the evolving situation following the bifurcated city corporations and the ongoing upazila elections are among the major reasons that have stood in the way of reconstituting the Dhaka city unit BNP committee, according to party insiders.
Though BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia had announced nearly one and a half months back to reorganize its Dhaka city committee as soon as possible as part of revamping the party in the wake of its apparent unsuccessful movement before the January 5 national election, there has been no tangible progress in this regard so far, frustrating those looking for the party’s overhaul.
“Dhaka plays the key role in making any movement a success as it’s the centre of politics. So, it’s essential to make our city unit stronger with major overhaul before waging a strong movement for resorting democracy through a holding a fresh election,” said BNP standing committee member Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman.
Mentioning that Khaleda Zia has already sat with Dhaka City unit BNP leaders and standing committee members, and taken necessary steps to reorganize the city unit, Mahbub said though their steps in this regard are not visible, they are doing now primary and some basic works to bring a significant change in the unit and make it stronger.
“The new committee will be formed very soon with competent, dedicated young and seasoned leaders. Our chairperson is working on it and devising various plans. The committee is likely to announce after upazila polls.
He, however, said they could not accelerate the party rearranging process due to some internal problems, jailing of the party leaders and the ongoing upazila polls.
Mahbub welcomed BNP vice-president Sadeque Hossain Khoka’s decision to resign from the post of convener of the party’s Dhaka city unit, saying it is a way forward in reorganizing the committee.
Another BNP standing committee member whishing anonymity said the process is being delayed as the chairperson is in dilemma over picking up competent and sincere leaders for making the committee.
He also said it is undeniable that the city BNP leaders and activists are divided into mainly two groups -- one backed by Sadeque Hossain Khoka and another by Mirza Abbas. So, it is also a challenge to form the committee comprising of both groups.
On February 10, Khaleda sat with the senior leaders of Dhaka city unit BNP and its associate bodies and decided to form the new committee of each unit of city BNP through holding council.
Later on March 9, she sat with the party policymakers and elaborately discussed the formation of the new committee.
Party insiders said it was almost final that a 21-membe the city unit convening committee, led by BNP standing committee member would be announced by middle of March.
But the process was halted by some pro-Khoka senior leaders as they managed to make Khaleda understand that Hanna Shah would not be a viable leader to revitalize the unit.
They suggested either forming a fresh committee under the leadership of Khoka or making two separate committees for divided Dhaka South and Dhaka north under new leadership.
However, some other party leaders opposed dividing the city unit into two as they think it will apparently endorse the government’s bifurcation of the Dhaka city corporations.
Contacted, BNP standing committee member Hannan Shah said he knows nothing about the Dhaka city unit committee. “Our Chairperson knows it very well, and she’s strongly monitoring the formation of all the committees.”
Replying to a question whether he is going to lead the Dhaka City, the BNP policymaker said, “I’m now an old man. I don’t have any interest to lead the city at this stage of age. But I’m ready to assist the chairperson in forming the new committee of the city.”
Incumbent BNP Dhaka city unit convener Sadeque Hossain Khoka also said he has no idea about the new committee. “I’ve already made my position in this regard clear on March 12 press conference. I’ve nothing to say anew.”
At press conference Khoka had said, “I feel the urgency of reorganizing and strengthening the Dhaka city unit of BNP. I had sent a message from jail to the leader (Khaleda Zia) requesting her to reorganize the Dhaka city unit. I believe in democracy and now I want to quit from the post of convener. I’ve performed the responsibly for long 17 years,” the BNP vice chairman claimed.
Though city leaders and activists loyal to Khoka appreciate him for his decision to quit, BNP leaders loyal to Mirza Abbas think it is plan of Khoka to halt the formation of the new committee.
Khoka’s supporters held the non-cooperation and insincerity of Abbas men responsible for failure of the current convening committee, an allegation denied by the pro-Abbas city BNP leaders.
“The success of the new committee, no matter under whose leadership it is formed, will face a big challenge if the supporters of Mirza Abbas and Sadeque Hossain Khoka do not cooperate with each other,” says Hannan Shah, member secretary of Shahbagh Thana BNP convening committee.
Hanna Shah who believes Khoka sincerely announced to quit, the BNP chairperson should immediately announce a fresh committee, inducting dedicated, honest, sincere and new faces in it from both the groups.
He also said alongside the party its associate bodies are also necessary to be reorganized soon.
Yunus Mridha, President of Khilgaon Thana unit BNP, thinks Khoka’s announcement was nothing but a stunt to stop the progress of the new committee and hush up his failures.
Like Hanna, he also thinks the success of the new committee will largely depend on the sincerity of the supporters of Sadeque Hossain Khoka and Mirza Abbas.
They both also think the party leaders and activists are getting demoralized due to delay in formation of the new committee.
BNP faces tough to form Dhaka city committee Delay frustrates the rank and file