The split in unity

Salman Tareque Sakil
Published : 00:58, Oct 14, 2018 | Updated : 01:02, Oct 14, 2018

Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh President AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury and Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain. File PhotoWhen Gano Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain was announcing his alliance with BNP and two other parties before the media at the National Press Club, Bikalpa Dhara chief AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury was briefing the media at his residence saying that they will be not a part of an initiative to bring the BNP back in power.
On board the the new anti-government alliance styled ‘Jatiya Oikya Front’ are Mahmudur Rahman Manna’s Nagorik Oikya and ASM Abdur Rab-led Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD-Rab), who were part of the B Chowdhury led coalition the Jukto Front, which had initially brought together the four parties.
Dr Kamal at the press briefing, however, said he hopes that Bikalpa Dhara would also join the new alliance later.
However, there is a very small chance that will happen.
Bikalpa Dhara has accused leaders of the anti-government alliance of creating barriers.
Badruddoza said they wanted a broader alliance against the domination of a single party.
In a clear reference to BNP’s long-time ally Jamaat-e-Islami, he said that they will not form a coalition with war criminals and anti-Liberation elements.
The three groups— Okiya Prokriya, Jukto Front and BNP — were scheduled to meet to finalise their outline for the alliance on Saturday at Kamal Hossain’s residence, but the meeting failed to materialise and the other stakeholders decided to leave out B Chowdhury.
Chowdhury and his son Mahi went to Kamal Hossain’s home to join the planned meeting. But they found the home locked and eventually departed after waiting in the car for some time before a calling the press conference.
When the Bikalpa Dhara chief was waiting outside his residence, Kamal Hossain was having meetings with BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, Manna and Rab at his offices in Motijhee
According to several leaders of the new alliance, dropping B Chowdhury has brought a respite in the new coalition. However, Nagorik Oikya’s Manna was for including him.
Everything was on track after the Kamal Hossain’s Sept 22 rally with B Chowdhury as the chief guest and top BNP leaders, including Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul attending.
But it stumbled when Bikalpa Dhara told BNP that it has to shun Jamaat for an alliance.
But cracks finally opened on Oct 5, when Bikalpa Dhara finally made it clear that the the BNP has to give 150 seats for allies and it has to cut ties with Jamaat.
The talks continued, but the process finally collapsed on Saturday.
According to people familiar with the events that unfolded throughout the day, Bikalpa Dhara Joint Secretary Mahi B Chowdhury made their stance clear— no alliance with BNP to JSD chief Rab in the morning.
When Rab conveyed the message to BNP, Kamal Hossain scrapped the planned meeting to finalise the outline of the alliance at his home.
The decision to exclude B Chowdhury was made at his Motijheel offices in a meeting joined by BNP’s Mirza Fakhrul, Rab, pro-BNP intellectual Zafrullah Chowdhury. Nagorik Oikya’s Manna was called in also.
When the news of B Chowdhury waiting outside Kamal Hossain’s residence was informed the Motijheel meeting, Rab said that the father and son have been told to come to Motijheel.
Speaking to Bangla Tribune late on Saturday, Mahi said, “When called on Kamal Hossain’s phone from outside his residence, it was received by Mostofa Mohsin Montu, who told me ‘Come over to (Kamal Hossain’s) office with B Chowdhury’.”
But the Bikalpa Dhara chief decided to leave and call a press conference to clear their stance.
When B Chowdhury was returning, Manna received a phone call to join the Motijheel meeting, where Rab and Mirza Fakhrul managed to persuade him.
Pro-BNP intellectual Zafrullah Chowdhury told Bangla Tribune that he requested Mahi to join the media briefing at the National Press Club. “B Chowdhury will join. Just wait and see.”