BNP is one of the largest political parties in Bangladesh. They are also the main political rivals of the ruling Awami League. BNP was born at the hands of former military ruler Ziaur Rahman, but since 1991, the party has sometimes been in the government and sometimes in the opposition through elections.
In the 1980s, the party played a prominent role in the anti-dictatorship Ershad and in the democratic movement. Since the return to democracy in 1991, it is undeniable that the BNP has held a strong position in the country’s politics. BNP has wide public support especially at the grassroots level. BNP came to power in 1991 and 2001 through elections based on this public support. In 1996, the BNP was in power for a brief period through another parliamentary election. For this reason, the BNP leader proudly called party chairperson Khaleda Zia a three-time prime minister. However, Khaleda Zia was in power for three terms for a total of 10 years.
This is about the national election. The party has always done well in local government elections as well. In the 2008 national elections, BNP was completely defeated. However, in the following years i.e. from 2009 to 2013, many leaders of the party were elected as chairman or mayor in Union Parishad, Upazila Parishad and City Corporation in various local government elections. Despite boycotting the national elections in 2014, BNP participated in the local government elections and did well in adverse conditions. BNP’s grass roots have always been active due to BNP’s good results or participation in local government elections. Many in the party say that BNP is a party of supporters. It doesn’t matter what the center is doing. BNP does well when it goes to polls. Silent voters decide BNP’s fate. The responsible leaders of the party have said on various occasions that it is necessary to look at the election in 1991. BNP will come to power after winning that election but many did not understand at that time. BNP also had doubts among themselves.
The group that has so much public support seems to be losing its rhythm. The party is saying word by word that it will not go to the polls. When BNP’s position is so clear to the rival long in advance, it becomes much easier for the rival to strategize. This is what happened in the national election. BNP is not coming. As a result, it has become easier for Awami League to make strategies. Candidates of their own party and individual votes were held together. No one got a chance to make any major complaint except to slander about low voter turnout. Some may have commented that they have voted for themselves. You can cut it. But in the law of Bangladesh, there is no such thing as how many votes should be counted, who are actually in the real election and who are not in the fake election. As a result, according to the constitution, the vote was supposed to be held after 5 years.
Writer Mohiuddin Ahmed wrote in one of his writings that voting was not illegal but it was immoral. The rulers can say that the people of Bangladesh follow the law properly. So there was no violation of the law. That is the big thing. Apart from that, there is no big pressure from foreigners regarding the election. It can be said that there is observation. There was an idea among common people that America might do something for BNP. The country also hinted at it by announcing a visa policy for Bangladesh before the vote. If they obstruct the fair voting, they should be banned under this visa policy. But so far no visible effect of this policy has been seen. Although the names of many have been discussed in various ways, many of them have been seen visiting America. As a result, there is no great pressure on the government at the moment. There is no domestic-foreign pressure to give up power. Even the BNPO, which is in the movement to bring down the government, seems to have become inactive. The low voter turnout is seen as a form of complacency for the party. The party is taking solace in the fact that people boycotted their calls. According to them, 95 percent of the people are now in their favor. Because only 5% of voters voted. If BNP is happy with this complacency then there is no problem. But the BNP leadership can no longer be complacent. They have to move forward. Because of this, realizing the reality is the main challenge in front of them now.
Here BNP has to remember one thing, most of the people of this country are with them in the movement to topple the government – the idea that the party leaders make is not correct. The party has not succeeded in this demand in the last 12 years of movement, this is a big thing. Even if we assume that BNP is in a long-term movement, that too is not evidenced in their movement. They often set the date for the final movement. As a result, the movement of BNP is no longer a ‘serious’ issue for the common people. Now come to the actual situation.
The issue that is coming before the BNP at the moment is the upazila election. This unit of local government is very important. This is a slightly bigger election after the National Assembly elections. Candidates for the parliamentary elections later came out from here. Participating in the 12th National Assembly elections, after the failure of the movement to bring down the government, now the topic of discussion among the field level leaders of the party is the upazila elections. This discussion of Trinamool has also come to the Centre. And they are shaken by this. National elections have been withheld. Will it go to the upazila? And will it be good for the team? Many such questions are coming before the party.
A member of the BNP standing committee said during the conversation that the main question is how long the BNP will boycott the vote. If the 2029 election is boycotted, the party will be in great danger. There may be a crisis over party registration and symbols. In this situation, if the BNP participates in the next parliamentary elections, then preparations must be made from now. And local government elections are very important for preparation. Moreover, the government party is not using its electoral symbol in the upazila elections. In this situation, the election is no longer a party. As a result, it will not be right to stop BNP field leaders from participating there. Or they will listen to it or why? As a result, BNP has to understand the situation and take a decision. For the good of the party, the leaders and activists have to come to a decision that is good for them.
According to the leader, they have confidence in the Center that the party’s field level leaders will accept whatever decision BNP takes. The government tried to disperse the BNP in various ways but failed to do so. However, he also said that showing that the Trinamool has confidence only in the top leaders cannot be a form of politics. BNP should take a good decision, which will be well accepted by all. Will remember from heart. The leader said, BNP now has to take a very political decision. But what it is is still unknown to us.
After the National Assembly elections, former Cabinet Secretary Ali Imam Majumdar, Professor Amena Mohsin, Daily Star Editor Mahfuz Anam said that BNP’s boycott of the National Assembly elections was wrong in English daily Daily Star. Upazila elections have not started yet. But the election mood has started at the grassroots. The leaders of the ruling party have fallen. But BNP is still peeping from the corner of the room. BNP should get out of the dilemma of whether to go or not.
I won’t play if the opponent fouls—such arrogance is child’s play. Not adults. ICC will side with India. The game is played in India. The result is predetermined. If Australia had stayed in its own country with such an idea, we would not be able to say that Australia is the world champion at this moment. What will BNP learn from this?
the writer: Chief News Editor, Digital Division, Independent Television