The BNP’s grassroots organisations are in a fragile state, with most of the party district committees in the country’s north having no elected committees and the tenure of many of them already expired. One of the worst is the north-western district of Panchagarh where BNP has no district committee for about six years.
Out of the 18 organisational districts in the country’s north, the BNP has only three elected district committees that are functioning without the expiry of their three-year tenures. These districts are Thakurgaon, Gaibandha and Lalmonirhat. Of them, Lalmonirhat got a full-fledged committee recently as its two-member committee was announced after its conference two years ago.
The terms of six of 14 district committees, mostly approved by the party central committee, have already expired their tenures. These districts include Syedpur, Pabna, Rajshahi City, Kurigram, Bogura and Natore. Of them, the centrally approved Bogura committee was recently dissolved to form an adhoc committee.
The Natore district committee, led by Ruhul Quddus Talukder Dulu, was elected in 2009 and its tenure expired in 2012, but no new committee has been formed till date. Six other district committees—Sirajganj, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Joypurhat, Chapainawabganj and Naogaon—approved by the BNP central committee are running with partial committees for over two years and their tenures will end by this year.
The BNP’s Dinajpur and Nilphamari districts got convening committees recently to form new committees through conference and ballots. The other districts committees are functioning with partial committees and a few of them have got convening committees.
Similarly, most of the frontal organisations and party units in the upazilas (sub-districts) and pourasabhas have no elected committees and they are running with centrally nominated committees for years now.
The fragile situation of the party in the north and lack of inner democracy was revealed following an in-depth investigation by The Independent. BNP leaders said they have taken necessary measures to reorganise the party at the behest of party acting chairman Tarique Rahman, who is now living in London in self-exile.
After the December 30 parliamentary election, Rahman took the initiative to reorganise the party from top to bottom by holding Skype conferences with district leaders and giving them directives from early March.
Talking to The Independent, the party leaders termed the party acting chairman’s initiative to reorganise the party as epoch-making. The leaders expressed their optimism that the BNP would get new elected committees at all levels and the party rank and file would be rejuvenated with the reorganisation of the party across the country within three to four months.
The worst organisational state prevails in Panchagarh as there has been no district committee for about six years now due to internal feud. The district convening committee, led by A Hasan Prodhan, was dissolved on May 6, 2014. As there was no committee, the party acting chairman did not call anyone to meet him, said Md Yunus Sheikh, a senior BNP leader.
The former district convenor, Prodhan, however, said that five leaders, led by standing committee member Jamiruddin Sircar, were entrusted with the responsibility to form an ad hoc committee for the district.
Md Toimur Rahman, president of Thakurgaon district committee, said they got a 201-member elected committee through holding a conference on May 24, 2017. He emphasised the need for establishing democracy within the party. Otherwise, the deprived leaders would be become inactive, he added.
Ruhul Quddus Talukder Dulu, president of the BNP’s Natore district, said they could not elect a new committee due to the absence of a congenial atmosphere in the political arena.
He, however, said BNP leaders and activists in the district were carrying out organisational activities with dedication and devotion by defying the repression by the ruling party, including implications in false cases.
Dulu, also an organising secretary of the party, said he would take measures to form a new committee soon through holding a conference and secret ballots.
He termed the party acting chairman’s initiative as “proper and timely” and said it would help in the emergence of new leadership at the grassroots level. Asadul Habib Dulu, president of Lalmonirhat district BNP, said the ongoing reorganisation of the party at the grassroots level has created huge enthusiasm among the rank and file and it would help to bring vibrancy in party activities.
He said the party acting chairman while meeting with district leaders through Skype had instructed them to reorganise the expired committees through conference and also create partial committees within a stipulated time of three to six months.
Dulu, also an organising secretary for Rangpur division, hoped that the process of reorganization would be complete by six month. BNP vice-chairman Shamsuzzaman Dudu said the party has to be reorganised in a bid to wage a united and strong movement for restoration of democracy and the release of party chairperson Khaleda Zia.
Party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said all the expired committees at the district level have been asked to reorganise the party from ward and union level through conference within the stipulated time. He termed the reorganizsation of the party a routine work and hoped that this time they would be able to complete the reorganisation within three to four months.