The promotion of two new BNP leaders to the party standing committee has shocked several senior leaders because the decision was taken outside the party council and without consultation at the policymaking level, according to BNP sources. BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman, who is now living in London in self-exile, appointed BNP vice-chairpersons Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku and Selima Rahman as standing committee members over three years after the party’s March 2016 national council.
However, three more posts in the party standing committee still remain vacant. These posts fell vacant after the death of BNP standing committee members Brig. Gen. (retd) ASM Hannan Shah, MK Anwar and Tariqul Islam. Meanwhile, senior BNP leaders are unwilling to speak against the acting party chairman’s decision, but are clearly unhappy. They said they were now awaiting decisions by the party brass to fill the remaining posts in the 19-member policymaking body.
There was speculation the vacant positions could be filled up by vice-chairmen Shah Moazzem Hossain, Abdullah Al
Noman and Maj. (retd) Hafizuddin Ahmed, Selima Rahman and chairperson’s adviser advocate Khondker Mahbub Hossain following the council. Of them, only Selima Rahman has got a berth in the standing committee after expiry of the committee tenure.
Party insiders said supporters of the prospective leaders got disappointed as they were overlooked this time as well.
When contacted, none of the BNP leaders wanted to comment on the new appointments to the standing committee.
A leader, preferring anonymity, admitted that he was embarrassed with the decision, but did not want to comment on the issue.
Another leader reasoned that such a thing has happened because some leaders were getting more loyal to the party leadership.
Asked whether the other three vacant positions in the standing committee will be filled up, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said it totally depended on the desire of the party acting chairman. “The party constitution has bestowed power to the chairperson to appoint standing committee members. So, in absence of the chairperson, it’s the jurisdiction of the acting chairman. When he and the party feel it necessary, they will appoint the people for the vacant positions in the policymaking body,” he added.
Echoing the party secretary general, BNP standing committee member Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said that the party charter has empowered the acting chairman to appoint the standing committee members.
Asked whether the acting chairman had held consultations with the standing committee members, Khandaker said it was not necessary for him. “If he wants, he can consult with the standing committee members and he may not discuss it too,” he said.
According to Section 7(Kha) (6) of the BNP constitution, the chairman can fill the posts in the national standing committee, national executive committee and sector-wise sub-committees.
The 19-member standing committee, the BNP’s highest policymaking body, was announced after the national council on March 19, 2016. However, the names of two members were not announced. Tuku, who hailed from Sirajganj, and Selima Rahman, who hailed from Barishal, then got berths in the 502-member national executive committee of the BNP as vice-persons.