The BNP is expecting the release of its Chairperson Khaleda Zia when the High Court hears her bail petition on February 25.
Sources say the party will decide on its election strategy after the former prime minister is freed. For the time being, everyone is focusing on Khaleda.
BNP’s Standing Committee member Moudud Ahmed has told a discussion on Friday that the party chief would get bail on Sunday if everything goes smoothly. “Demonstrations will continue alongside legal battles to free Khaleda Zia,” he said. “We will force this government to organize the [next] election under a neutral body with our peaceful movement.”
Sources in the BNP say the party’s peaceful approach to free Khaleda resulted in its opponent getting somewhat beaten down in terms of political strategy. Their attention is currently fixed on Sunday.
“We will fix our strategy after Sunday,” said Kalim Uddin Ahmed Milon, the deputy organizing secretary of BNP.
The party will have to come up a new strategy if the BNP chairperson gets bail or if she has to spend more days behind bars in coming days. It will also have to show patience.
BNP sources have claimed that the party is getting positive political results even if Khaleda’s release is not being hastened. Moudud said: “… I believe that even a day’s delay [in releasing Khaleda] is a plus point for us but a minus score for the Awami League.”
Party leaders say they will chalk out plans for the next election in presence of Khaleda after she is released. If she is not released next week, the party will announce new demonstrations but they will be peaceful.
“The government will release Khaleda Zia on its own. Everyone in this world is condemning [the incarceration]. Even though the prime minister appears to be jolly and carefree when delivering speeches, there is pressure on her too,” said a BNP standing committee member.
A source at the BNP chief’s office has said that policymaking directives for all levels of the party have already come from London where Khaleda’s son and also the party’s Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman is staying.
Party sources say the high command believes that the BNP has to gain enough power to face the next election before deciding on whether to take part in it or boycott the polls. For the moment, there are three directives for the party’s activists.
These are – a) all activists from every level must remain healthy, b) remaining united and continuing peaceful demonstrations, and c) support fellow BNP supporters in distress as much as possible.
Sources say the directives from London are playing key roles in maintaining the party’s unity. Even central leaders are maintaining regular communications with party leaders staying abroad.
BNP Standing Committee member Jamiruddin Sircar said: “We will sit to fix our election strategy after the party’s chairperson’s release. The chairperson’s release comes first, then the election.”
He hoped Khaleda would be freed on Sunday. “… A negative situation has been created at home and abroad through Khaleda Zia’s arrest,” he added.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com