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The 20-Party Alliance has thrown its support behind its leader, the BNP, in opening a new front with Dr Kamal Hossain-led Jatiya Oikya Prokriya, excluding AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury’s Bikalpadhara Bangladesh. The 20 BNP-Jamaat-e-Islami coalition discussed the demands and goals of the newly formed Jatiya Oikya Front and welcomed the BNP’s move to join it at a meeting on Monday night, the old alliance’s Coordinator BNP leader Nazrul Islam Khan said. - A home for your website

Representatives of the Jamaat, the Bangladesh Jatiya Party, Liberal Democratic Party and other parties in the alliance attended the meeting chaired by BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir at jailed BNP chief Khaleda Zias Gulshan office in Dhaka.

The leaders of the old alliance saw the BNP move as a step towards establishing democracy after toppling the autocratic government, Nazrul said.

The demands of both alliances include election under a non-partisan government, reformation of the Election Commission, dissolution of parliament before the polls, and deployment of the army with judicial powers during the elections, Nazrul noted.

“This (new) front is also demanding the release of Khaleda Zia for the restoration of democracy. Thats why weve thanked the front leaders,” he added.

The Bikalpadhara, which had asked the BNP to leave Jamaat to form the new alliance, was itself left out of the new front formed on Saturday.

Bikalpadhara chief Badruddoza is the founding secretary general of the BNP and served as president of Bangladesh when the party returned to power in 2001. He was driven out later and formed the new party.

The Bikalpadhara has accused leaders of the new anti-government alliance of creating barriers, in signs of a growing rift in splinter groups.

“If the Jatiya Oikya Prokriyas only goal is to bring the BNP back to power, we will not be part of it,” the party said after the new front was formed.

It also cited another reason behind being left out of the new front – the BNPs failure to shun “anti-liberation forces”, meaning the Jamaat.

Besides Gono Forum President and former Awami League leader Dr Kamal, the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal-JSD of ASM Abdur Rab and Nagorik Oikya of Mahmudur Rahman Manna are in the new front.

“We hope the peoples movement will get stronger through the formation of the new front,” Nazrul said.