Dhaka,  Wednesday
29 May 2024

BNP stands firm on boycott of voting, products

Abdur Rahim, Dhaka

Published: 08:12, 22 April 2024

BNP stands firm on boycott of voting, products

Photo : Collected

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has been out of power for 17 years. Despite concerted efforts, including movements and even with the chairperson being jailed, the party has failed to secure victory in the last four national elections. Despite receiving international support in the 12th national parliamentary elections, they were unable to capitalize on it.

Despite questions being raised about the weakness in BNP leadership after the election, the party claims that it is fulfilling its political role effectively. BNP's importance has increased among the general populace of the country and in the international arena. As BNP did not participate in the election, most people in the country also refrained from going to the polling centres, showing their support for BNP's decision. This is why the party has decided not to participate in the local elections this time as well.

Many in the party believe that the ruling government, which cannot avoid clashes and violence even by voting on their own, is being proven right again. Party activists were abducted even before the election. On the other hand, only one country openly supported keeping the Awami League in power. BNP has supported the social movement of boycotting products against that country. Sales of Indian products had also declined ahead of Eid.

The party believe that not only the boycott of products, but there is also an ongoing observation within the party about what alternatives could be for those who go to India from Bangladesh for medical treatment or travel. Getting a response from the boycott of voting and products, BNP's main target now is to reap the benefits silently. There is also a buzz within the party that they are getting diplomatic support from a few countries.

Reliable leaders of the party say that it is possible to succeed through mass movements against autocrats, although it may take time. But mass movements cannot succeed against fascists. That requires war or foreign assistance. The downfall of Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi did not happen through any movement. It is not possible for BNP to take the path of violence, so they are no longer participating in elections under this government, giving importance to the voice of the people. And they are taking a stance against the country that the people are expressing anger towards.

In this regard, BNP senior leader Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said, “Those who are carrying out the social movement are doing the right thing. I have expressed my opinion. I think almost all the leaders and activists of my party agree with this.”

Meanwhile, regarding the boycott of voting, sources suggest that if BNP participates in the upazila elections after boycotting the national election, it may create indiscipline within the party. Questions will be raised as to why they did not participate in the national election. Moreover, if influential and wealthy individuals are nominated bypassing field-level leaders and activists, it may cause a split and indiscipline in the party.

Field-level leaders and activists say that the ruling party failed to split BNP during the 12th national election. As BNP did not participate in the vote, 75-85 percent of the people in the country also did not cast their ballots, responding to BNP's call. People have kept their faith in BNP. Not participating in this election was beneficial for BNP. 

Many, including the US and the UK, have not accepted the legitimacy of this election. The international community did not take the arrest and sentencing of political leaders and activists before the election ordinarily. BNP is now telling the world that prison has become the permanent address of their leaders and activists. Between 25,000 and 26,000 leaders and activists were in jail for almost four months ahead of the election. Thousands of leaders and activists are still in jail. Democracy cannot function in any way like this.

When asked, BNP standing committee member Begum Selima Rahman told The Daily Messenger, “The whole world has seen that no election can be held under this government. It has also been proven why we (BNP) do not participate in elections under this government. It has also been said that BNP will not participate in the local government elections either. BNP is now in a movement to oust the government. BNP is now giving importance to the issues that the people are getting involved in.”