Though most party senior leaders were positive about joining it, BNP on Saturday did not attend the 20th council of its political rival Awami League at historic Suhrawardy Udyan.Party insiders said BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia on Friday night decided not to send any delegation of her party as Awami League had not join BNP’s March-19 council.Earlier on Friday, BNP joint secretary general Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal at discussion at the Jatiya Press Club said their party will join the council demonstrating its liberal attitude.However, Alal himself and other party leaders on Saturday said it was his personal opinion and expectation, but it was not their party decision.On Thursday, Awami League invited BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and its Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir to join their party’s council.
Thanking Awami League for the invitation, Fakhrul the same day told reporters that they would take a decision later whether they will join the council.Contacted, Fakhrul said he has no idea as to why their party did not send any delegation to the ruling party’s council. “I don’t have any contact with the party high-ups since yesterday (Friday) as I’m unwell. So, I don’t know anything about it,” he said.Fakhrul also declined to make any comment over Alal’s remark about joining the council.BNP standing committee member Mahbubur Rahman said their party should have joined the council. “It’s a lame excuse we shouldn’t join Awami League’s council as they didn’t attend our council. We should come out of such a negative political culture. BNP could have set a positive example by taking part in the ruling party’s council.”BNP spokesman and party vice chairman Shamsuzzaman Dudu said Alal should not have made such a comment without consulting party high-ups. “It was his personal opinion.”He, however, said many party leaders were positive about participating in the council for the sake of democracy.Alal said he expected the party would send a delegation to the Awami League’s council as BNP is a liberal democratic party. “I’d said our party would join the programme as it was my firm belief such a decision would be taken.”Pro-BNP intellectual and ex-VC of Dhaka University Prof Emajuddin Ahmed said BNP made a blunder by not joining the council. “As Awami League showed its meanness by not coming to BNP’s council, BNP also did the same by not sending its delegation to its opponent’s council.”He said as BNP has been urging the ruling party for reaching an understanding for resolving the country’s political crisis, it should have joined the council, demonstrating its compromising attitude.Mentioning that BNP is on a movement for a long time to ‘restore’ democracy, he said, “It could have a huge impact had BNP senior leaders delivered a few words in favour of democracy by joining the council.”Two BNP senior leaders, wishing anonymity, said their party made such a wrong decision for lack of political wisdom of party high-ups.They also observed this decision will only harm the party’s reputation.However, a BNP senior leader close to Khaleda said the party did not send any delegation to the AL’s council fearing party grassroots would not take it easily as many party leaders and activist were killed, made disappeared, oppressed and harassed by the ruling party over the last few years.He also said the party grassroots have also grievances as the ruling party tried to obstruct BNP’s council and did not join it.Unlike BNP, Jatiya Party leaders Anisul Islam Mahmud and Ziauddin Bablu, Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh (BDB) President Dr AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury, Communist Party of Bangladesh President Mujahidul Islam Selim, Workers Party of Bangladesh President Rashed Khan Menon, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal president Hasanul Haque Inu, 32-party alliance leader Barrister Nazmul Huda, Jasad (Rab) president ASM Abdur Rab, joined the council.