BNP moves to prop up, unite grassroots


Hindustan Surkhiyan Desk:The BNP central leaders will start grassroots tour tomorrow and hold a series of meetings in efforts to keep intact the organisational unity as they fear the government is out to split the party ahead of the next parliamentary election.

They will sit with the district and upazila units to ask party men to keep unity at any cost and not to make any reckless decisions, engage in violence and fall into government’s trap, said insiders.

The central leaders will also talk to the relatives of the party members now behind bars and will discuss the legal issues.

A number of party leaders said they will also ask grassroots leaders to counter the government campaign to portray the Zia family as corrupt people.

Already, some of the central leaders have gone to some districts while the rest will join the party’s demonstration programme in all the district towns and metropolitan cities, except for Dhaka, on Tuesday.

“The presence of central leaders in districts will certainly be a great morale booster for grassroots activists,” BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told The Daily Star.

After BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia landed in jail in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on February 8, this would be the first large-scale organisational tour by central leaders.

Instructed by party’s acting chairman Tarique Rahman, Fakhrul will coordinate the whole programme from Dhaka, sources say.

There are 81 organisational districts of the party and the central leaders will go to those districts on February 20 to participate in demonstrations demanding release of Khaleda.

“When a central leader visits a district, the grassroots leaders are morally boosted. The central leaders will ask grassroots men to keep patience and unity and not to make any reckless decisions and fall into the government trap,” Barkat Ullah Bulu, told The Daily Star.

He also said the grassroots leaders and activists will be directed to counter the government propaganda in a peaceful and democratic way.

Nazrul Islam Khan, party’s standing committee member, said following the directives of Tarique Rahman, the central leaders will talk to the family members of the detained leaders and will give them legal assistance if needed.

Around 78,000 cases have been filed against over 7.5 lakh BNP leaders and activists in last nine years, party office sources claimed.

More than 4,725 party leaders and activists were arrested across the country since January 30 to till February 17, according to party office, they added.

After Khaleda’s jail, senior leaders of the party have been sitting every day with various professional bodies and maintaining ties with the diplomats.

Tarique Rahman is keeping in touch with top party men and issuing important decisions whenever it is needed. He also talked with various professional leaders, lawyers and intellectuals through teleconferencing.

The BNP has been staging various protest programmes, except for shutdowns and blockade, since Khaleda went to jail.

It observed a token hunger strike on Wednesday, formed a human chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club on Monday and staged a sit-in before the party’s Nayapaltan central office on Tuesday.

And yesterday, the Dhaka district unit of the party submitted a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka district Mohammad Salah Uddin demanding release of Khaleda.

Party leaders and activists also brought out a procession after coming out of the DC office.

In another development, Judge Md Akhtaruzzaman of Special Judge Court-5 in Dhaka assured the lawyers of providing them with the copy of the Zia orphanage case verdict today after the latter asked about it yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Special Judge Court-2 asked Khaleda and 14 other accused to appear before it on March 25 in connection with Barapukuria coal mine graft case.

Khaleda was not produced before the court yesterday though it was the date for the hearing in Barapukuria case. She was on bail and her lawyer represented her.


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