Since the day BNP chairperson has been imprisoned, the party leaders have got divided into two views. The difference in opinions is intensifying as the imprisonment is prolonging. Political analysts think, if the jail life of Begum Zia draws long enough, it will at some point create rift among the party leaders and cause the ultimate breakdown.
Political observers think, BNP has moved away from its demanding position of a caretaker or supportive election-time government due to the changed political context in the country. It has changed its tune and now demands the release of the party leader unless it won’t be participating in the ensuing elections. Several BNP leaders opine that they will join in the election provided their party leader is released on bail and declared ‘qualified’ for the election. But the reality is-Begum Zia’s possibility to remain in the field during election is drying up. She has just been convicted in one of the many cases. When the argumentation of the Zia Charitable Trust graft case will start from 25h February onwards, there are 33 more cases against her.
Hearing on Boro Pukuria Corruption case is scheduled for 18th February. GATCO corruption case hearing is on 4th March; while Naiko corruption case hearing is on 11th March. The government has taken measures to settle these cases fast. That is why the government has transferred these cases in the special court established at the Aliya Madrassa playground. If the government gets disposed of these cases before the national election, the idea of ‘freeing Begum Zia’ will be an absurd notion.
Considering the reality, different views are growing within BNP. The advocates of these different views are Barrister Moudud Ahmed, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Mahbubur Rahman, and BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir. They think that as the government has been able to send Begum Zia behind the bars, they will not be releasing her so easily. They opine that the government took the strategy as a measure to keep BNP out of the election. So, if we quit the elections just because Begum Zia is imprisoned,” it will only help implementing the government’s ‘blue print’.
The leaders think that the government will once again hold a ‘farce election’ which will be the final nail in BNP’s coffin. Begum Zia’s political career will rest in peace behind the four walls of the jail. That is why they think, ‘participating in the election is the only way to demand Begum Zia’s release, to protect the party activists and most importantly to protect BNP’s existence.’As a part of the movement, the election will create enthusiasm among the party activists as well. A pro-BNP leader commented that, “An imprisoned Khaleda will be more powerful that a freed Khaleda. The ballot will be the mandate of her release.”
But the young leaders of BNP including Tarique Rahman are, however, against this sort of `compromise`. They not only opposing such decision; they have reportedly threatened to get disposed of the leaders who will be involved in such conspiracies. It’s because of Tarique the senior leaders aren`t speaking openly about the election. But as time elapses, the activists are becoming restless. Besides, the potential candidates are also sending positive news to the field level leaders. If this is the situation, it will be interesting to see how Tarique`s threat keeps BNP intact along with bringing the party activists and leaders together.
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