| Dhaka, Thursday, 02 February 2023

Bikalpadhara, LDP don't join with  BNP

Update : 2015-07-26 11:45:10
Bikalpadhara, LDP don't join with  BNP

Speculations of former president AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury's Bikalpadhara and Oli Ahmed's Liberal Democratic Party joining BNP, have been rejected by the top leadership of both parties.

Six leaders of BNP, including a member of BNP's standing committee, a vice chairman, two advisors of the chairperson and two joint secretaries, told Prothom Alo they know nothing about Bikalpadhara or LDP joining BNP.

They said, outside of the BNP-led 20-party alliance, there were several parties that support the movement in demand of credible elections. These parties have not joined the alliance due to difference in views. BNP is willing to come to an understanding with such parties over the movement, elections and even to form the government in future. The party's main aim is to create a large political platform or front outside of the ruling Awami League.

Rumours of B Chowdhury, Oli Ahmed and other former leaders returning to BNP before or after Eid, created quite a stir among the party's leaders and well-wishers. A section within the party feel this would give BNP a boost, organisationally. However, another section is not quite so comfortable with this. They say that the government has plans to arrest Khaleda Zia on corruption charges. With Khaleda Zia behind bars, they will then go on to hold the elections. This section within BNP feels that the old leaders coming back to the BNP camp may be just a ploy being devised by the government.

BNP joint secretary general Mohammed Shahjahan told Prothom Alo, "B Chowdhury and Oli Ahmed were in BNP. If they return, we will readily welcome them. Bu it would be unfortunate if there was any conspiracy behind this."

Meanwhile, a section wants these founding leaders of the party back in the BNP fold. One of them was former vice chancellor of Dhaka University Professor Emajuddin Ahmed. He told Prothom Alo on Saturday, "I have told the BNP chairperson to keep all the doors and windows open. She has done so. Accordingly, initiative has been taken to bring B Chowdhury, Oli Ahmed and others back to the party." He said he had been given this responsibility. However, till Saturday he hadn't been able to speak to B Chowdhury or Oli Ahmed on this head.

Both B Chowdhury and Oli Ahmed are presently in Bangkok. B Chowdhury, there with his family, will return on 31 July. Oli Ahmed will return on 2 August.

Oli Ahmed spoke to this correspondent over cell phone on Saturday, saying it was not true that LDP was being dissolved to merge with BNP, nor had BNP made any such offer. They had not held any talks in this regard.

B Chowdhury's press secretary Jahangir Alam also replied in the negative, telling Prothom Alo on Saturday, "Sir said to tell the media that joining up with BNP was out of the question."

However, reliable sources within LDP said there was a positive opinion within the leadership to merge if BNP so wanted. Two leaders who had called upon Khaleda Zia to invite her to iftar during Ramadan, had expressed the desire to merge with BNP. Khaleda Zia simply smiled in response.

BNP chairperson reportedly had a soft stance towards LDP. However, BNP at the moment is unwilling to draw in any leader outside of the alliance. It wants the allies of the 20-party alliance, as well as the leaders outside of the alliance, to be active in the movement for national elections. BNP's top leadership feels it is better for national leaders such as Bikalpadhara president Badruddoza Chowdhury, LDP president Oli Ahmed, or Jatiya Party Chairman Kazi Zafar Ahmed, to remain outside of BNP. These leaders have political clout and influence outside of the alliance.

In 2013 before Kazi Zafar Ahmed had broken away from Ershad's Jatiya Party to form a new party, there had been speculations that he would be joining BNP along with a section of Jatiya Party. On Friday Kazi Zafar Ahmed told BNP, "There's a 50-50 chance of B Chowdhury and Oli Ahmed joining BNP. It all depends on what the BNP chairperson wants and their strategy." He said, if BNP's top leadership wants any allied party to join BNP, they will give this highest consideration.

BNP's vice chairman Abdullah Al Noman said he knows nothing about Bikalpadhara or LDP joining BNP. However, there is a separate initiative within the party to bring back leaders who had broken away or became inactive during the 1/11 process. Also, there are efforts to create unity with other democratic parties outside of the Awami League sphere.

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