• Wednesday, Sep 28, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Ignoring grassroots caused massive downfall in election, BNP activists say

  • Published at 06:41 pm January 1st, 2019
web-BNp office at nayapaltan
FILE PHOTO: A general view of the BNP headquarters at Dhaka's Naya Paltan Rajib Dhar/ Dhaka Tribune

Grassroots BNP leaders claimed that voters who wanted to vote for the party were kicked out of the centres on election day

Field-level BNP activists are disappointed at the party’s top leadership as they only won five seats in the 11th general election, held on December 30. 

BNP candidates contested in 258 of 299 constituencies under their "sheaf of paddy" symbol. The party's secretary general, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, was among the winners, alongside Mosharraf Hossain in Bogra 4, Zahidur Rahman in Thakurgaon 3, Aminul Islam in Chapainawabganj 2, and Harunur Rashid in Chapainawabganj 3.

Grassroots BNP leaders claimed that voters who wanted to vote for the party were kicked out of the centres on election day. 

Azizul Hakim Khandakar, a Chhatra Dal activist from Narayanganj 5, said his family could not cast their vote as they faced obstacles by ruling party activists. 

“Participation in elections alone cannot bring any success to the party,” he said. “Lack of right strategy and organizational weaknesses were the reasons for this result.”

BNP grassroots leaders and activists also said law enforcement agencies acted like political activists during the election. 

HM Sumon, a grassroots activist from Barisal2, complained that no senior leader was present, let alone their candidate, to guide them on election day.“We lost our confidence to go to the centres,” he lamented.

“Our local activists were tortured by ruling party activists before the election. Even now, we cannot stay at home as the police and ruling party activists are looking for us,” he added. 

Low-tier leaders and activists said that top leaders took unnecessary time to decide whether they would participate in the election or not. They feel that was a major reason for them for not preparing well ahead of the polls.  

Local leaders, wishing to remain unnamed, said as a party, BNP was more dependable on Jatiya Oikya Front to take decisions for them, such as election issues, which was also responsible for the outcome in the election. 

“As a big political party, the BNP high command did not utilize its popularity. Our party could not even stage a strong movement to free the party’s chairperson, Begum Khaleda Zia, who has been in jail since February,” one of them claimed while evaluating BNP's performance in 2018. 

The party’s activists think the coming days will be more challenging for BNP. If the party cannot come up with the right strategy based on local activists, then it will become difficult for them to sustain in the long run, they said.

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