Dhaka, Sunday   24 March 2019

No option left other than street showdown: BNP

 Staff Correspondent :: staff-correspondent

 Published: 08:10 PM, 3 November 2018   Updated: 08:10 PM, 3 November 2018



Unhappy with the outcome of the dialogue between their Jatiya Oikayfront and the 14-party ruling alliance, BNP policymakers now have made up their minds to launch a 'non-stop' street agitation together with its two coalitions after the announcement of the election schedule.

Senior party leaders said they are now almost certain that most of their demands are unlikely to be realised by engaging in further talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina unless they can exert pressure on the government through a strong and united street showdown.

They, however, said a small team of the Jatiya Oikyafront, led by Dr Kamal Hossain, may sit in talks with the Prime Minister again as their last-ditch effort to find a peaceful solution to the political problem, and realise their major demands for a fair and participatory election.

BNP and Oikyafront leaders said they need to participate in the talks further so that the civil society members and diplomats cannot blame them for the failure of the dialogue.

They said Dr Kamal Hossain is preparing a new framework on an election-time government dissolving parliament, which he will present before the Prime Minister in the talks or will send it to her.

A BNP standing committee member, wishing anonymity, said they will announce some programmes from their Suhrawardy Udyan rally if the election schedule is announced by the time.

He said they will first try to mount pressure on the government by huge showdown with some peaceful programmes like human chain and sit-in, and change their course of action gradually depending on emerging situation and the government's response.

The BNP leader said they will announce the action programmes under the banner of Oikyafront, and the 20-party will simultaneously observe those extending their support.

The party has recently held a meeting with its 20-party alliance partners and gave them necessary direction as to how they will act if the election schedule is announced without any understanding with the Oikyafront.

A Jamaat-e-Islami leader, seeking anonymity, said they have completed their necessary preparations to wage a strong, but a brief movement.

He said they will be there on the streets supporting BNP's and the 20praty's programmes to be declared after the announcement of the election schedule.

Two BNP standing committee members said their party's acting chairman Tarique Rahman phoned some Oikyafront and 20-party leaders, and pro-BNP intellectuals and most of them suggested him to launch a non-stop peaceful movement.

Tarique is also contacting the leaders of BNP's two Dhaka city units giving them necessary directions to launch a strong movement in the capital and make it a success.

Contacted, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said though many things were discussed during the talks, there is no satisfactory outcome. "That's why we've got frustrated over the talks."

Asked whether they will sit with the Prime Minister again, he said they will decide it after discussions with party and Oikyafront leaders and assessing the government's attitude.

He said the Oikyafront's movement will continue and they will come up with more programmes in the days to come.

Asked if the election schedule is announced before their further talks with the Prime Minister, Fakhrul said they will intensify their movement and force the government to concede to their demands.

BNP standing committee member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy said the results of the talks are almost zero. "Now we've no alternative to intensifying our movement to realise our demands."

He said they will give some important messages from Oikyafront's Tuesday's rally at Suhrawardy Udyan. "We'll gradually strengthen our movement to realise our demands "

"From our past experience, we can say no problem of the country was resolved through talks.

Even, the government didn't meet the students' demand for quota reform through talks. They did it only when the students took to the streets. So, we've to achieve the success through making sacrifices on the streets," the BNP leader added.

Gayeshwar, who did not join the talks citing his illness, said there is no misunderstanding among the Oikyafront leaders and all are sincerely working from their respective position to ensure a credible election in the country.

He said the 20-party alliance partners also may take part in the Oikyafront's action programmes as they support its seven-point demand.

Jukta Front leader and Nagorik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna said the dialogue has not been successful as the Prime Minister indirectly turned down their demands. "She pushed us towards the movement."

He also said the Prime Minister has made the talks insignificant as she invited her alliance partners also for discussions.

Oikya Prokriya leader Sultan Mohammad Mansur Ahmed said their movement will continue till their demands are met. "We've no other option now other than settling the political problem on the streets."

Daily Bangladesh/Sohug