As it moves to align with the BNP, Bikalpadhara Bangladesh has told Khaleda Zia’s party that it can forget about a coalition if the Jamaat-e-Islami were to be in it. Bikalpadhara made its position clear when BNP Vice Chairman Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku met AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury at his Baridhara home on Tuesday. “There cannot be any direct or indirect alliance with any anti-independence party or individual,” Bikalpadhara Joint Secretary General Mahi B Chowdhury told reporters after the meeting. “We want national unity with the BNP, but the BNP will have to leave the Jamaat first for that to happen,” he added.
Before the meeting between the leaders of the BNP and Badruddoza-led Jukto Front alliance on the first floor of the building, Mahi met the Bikalpadhara leaders on the ground floor.
Badruddozas son then joined the meeting on the first floor. Besides Tuku and pro-BNP professionals leader Zafrullah Chowdhury, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal-JSD chief ASM Abdur Rab and Nagorik Oikya Convenor Mahmudur Rahman Manna were there.
But Gono Forum chief Dr Kamal Hossain, who has recently launched the Jatiya Oikya Prokriya platform with the Jukto Front of Badruddoza, Abdur Rab and Manna, skipped it.
Oikya Prokriyas Member Secretary ABM Mostafa Amin was present.
BNP leaders last Saturday joined the Jatiya Oikya Prokiya rally and said they would wage the anti-government movement together.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said they wanted a agitation in unision to remove the Awami League government at any cost and their chief Khaleda wished the same.
Manna said after the rally that a BNP-Oikya Prokriya unity had almost been forged.
Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader described the rally as a unity of communal forces.
But now the Bikalpadhara has expressed its reservations about the presence of the Islamist party Jamaat in the BNP-led 20-Party Alliance, something many parties had been objecting to for a long time.
Mirza Fakhruls representative Tuku attended the meeting as an observer, Badruddoza told the media.
No BNP leader made any specific comment on the minus-Jamaat condition set by the Biklpadhara for the unity.
The BNP would clear its stance on Oikya Prokriya in its rally next Saturday and the Oikya Prkriya platform would form a liaison committee after the rally following the BNPs proposal, Badruddoza said.
Tuku said Badruddoza had already spoken his mind and that they were willing to move forward with the Oikya Prokriya.
Without taking the name of Jamaat, the party which opposed Bangladeshs independence from Pakistan, both Badruddoza and Manna said they would not make any anti-liberation forces part of the Oikya Prokriya.
Once a BNP MP, Mahi, however, was very specific. “As many as 90 percent of the BNP are against the Jamaat. If we take a strong stand, the BNP will be forced to leave Jamaat out within three to four weeks,” he said.
He also urged the Oikya Prokriya leaders not to share the stage with the BNP before the party announces its separation from the Jamaat.
In the Bikalpadhara meeting, the party and its affiliates passed a call to national leaders.
Mahi conveyed their decision to the Oikya Prokriya leaders later and said his father was tasked with looking into the issue.
Badruddoza, the founding secretary general of the BNP who was made president during the BNP-Jamaat government, had said the BNPs Jamaat-centric Khaleda politics would not last long.
The BNP should revert to its founder Ziaur Rahmans politics now, he told a programme in Dhaka on June 13, 2015.
The Oikya Prokriya has placed a five-point charter of demand, including non-partisan election-time government, reforms to the Election Commission and deployment of army during polls.
These are the BNPs demands also, but the party wants its chief Khaleda freed before the election as well. She has been in jail after her conviction in a corruption case in February.
The BNP-led alliance stayed away from the last parliamentary election as their demand for a polls-time caretaker government was not met. The Jukto Front parties and the Gono Forum also boycotted the election.
The nine targets announced by the Oikya Prokriya include bringing balance to the powers of the president and the prime minister.
Mahi said absolute majority of any party would not bring good to the country.
“So the national unity has to be built on a politics of balance in parliament and the cabinet, and between the prime minister and the president,” he said.
The Bikalpadhara leader sad they also discussed the current state of politics, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasinas speeches in New York, where she is attending the UN General Assembly.
The Jukto Front and the Oikya Prokriya would jointly hold street rallies in Mymensingh on Sept 30, he said.
The JSDs Abdul Malek Ratan, Tania Rab, the Nagorik Oikyas Shahidullah Kayser and Jahedur Rahman, the Gono Forums AOM Shafiqullah and Jaglul Haider Afrik, and the Bikalpadharas Omar Faruq also attended the Oikya Prokriya meeting.