BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia inaugurated her party’s sixth national council amid a festive atmosphere in the city on Saturday morning. BNP Chairperson today unveiled her party’s Vision 2030 Plan to turn the country into a rainbow nation to create a political culture where all people of varying opinions can coexist peacefully.
Khaleda, the widow of party founder Ziaur Rahman, opened the council by hoisting the national flag at 10:48 am at Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh. She also released a bunch of balloons and pigeons. The inaugural session started through recitation of verses from the holy Quran.
The session will end with the speech of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, to be followed by lunch. The second and important session of the council will start at 3 pm. Around 30,000 grassroots level leaders, councillors, and 8,000 delegates of BNP gathered at the council venue which was decked out with flags, streamers and flowers, posters containing council theme, slogans and logo. Leaders of different political parties, business and professional bodies, foreign diplomats and intellectuals attended the inaugural ceremony.
Aiming to stage a political comeback leaving out its failures in the anti-government movement, the party is holding the national council with the theme ‘We’ll must Free Democracy’. Senior leaders and grassroots activists expect a magical overhaul of the party’s executive committee and standing committee, and some major amendments to the party charter to make it a stronger political organisation for waging a fresh movement to restore democracy in the country. Khaleda Zia address the inaugural session as the chief guest.
BNP senior vice chairman Tarique Rahman, now in London, is likely to address the council through videoconferencing. The slogan of the council is “Corruption and Misrule will Surely Come to an End, Bangladesh will be a Democratic Country”.
The party’s council logo contains the symbol of the Liberation War and the National Mausoleum, red and green flag and BNP’s electoral symbol the sheaf of paddy. As Khaleda and Tarique have already been elected party chairperson and senior vice chairman unchallenged respectively, the councillors will now choose party secretary general, other leaders and approve a set of proposals for BNP’s constitution amendment.
Party insiders, however, said the councillors will empower Khaleda to pick the other office-bearers and members for the national executive and standing committees. They said the BNP chief can only announce the name of the party’s new secretary general at the council while she may take time to announce the names of new central committee and standing committee members. A number of party senior leaders said it is almost certain that current BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir will be made full-fledged secretary general at the council.
They also said their fresh executive committee and standing committee will be formed with young, active, brave, dedicated, popular, tested and competent party leaders at the council. The party leaders also hinted that the executive committee may be increased to a 501-member one from 386.
The BNP leaders said a good number of leaders close to Tarique and those who remained very active in the pervious movement will be rewarded while many others who played an inactive role during the movement may be dropped from the new committees or given unimportant posts.
Earlier on Thursday night, the party standing committee at a marathon meeting at the BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office approved different proposals for party’s charter amendment. The approved proposals will be placed for the session of the party councillors.
A party standing committee member, preferring anonymity, said the councillors may pass various proposals, including forming subcommittees in different sectors, increasing the number of party vice-chairman’s post, the number of organising secretaries, specifying the responsibility of party senior vice chairman and party’s stance against militancy and violence against minority communities.
By providing space for all shades of opinions and beliefs, we want to nurture and strengthen a political culture which will create a vibrant pluralistic society. Bangladesh will become a rainbow nation through unity and diversity, Khaleda said while addressing her party’s sixth national council. In her written statement, the BNP chief briefly described the Vision 2030 and said she will seek people’s opinion in this regard soon.
We want to combine 3 Gs, which are good politics, good governance and good government, she said. Talking about her arch-rival Awami League President Sheikh Hasina, Khaleda said: In recent years, people felt it quite well that the absolute executive authority of the prime minister has given rise to a despotic and authoritarian rule.
To bring an end to this, BNP will ensure a balance in the executive authority of the state by enacting necessary constitutional amendment. In a major disclosure of the party’s 2030 vision, Khaleda said her party will take necessary measures to create bicameral parliament with country’s experienced professionals, educationalists, intellectuals in the upper chamber of the parliament.
She said they will create plans to elevate the country’s economic growth to double digit. To achieve this, we will take initiatives to forge social compromising deal. The BNP chief said her party will also introduce positive politics in the country after coming out of the current political culture of vengeance and confrontation.
While beginning of her 111-minute speech, Khaleda recalled the outstanding contributions of the country’s great national leaders: Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq, Hossain Shaheed Suhrawardy, Maulana Bhashani and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. She remembered that they had played great role in many ways to make the country independent. Earlier she inaugurated the programme by hoisting the national and party flags, and releasing pigeons at the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB) around 10:45am.
The national anthem, party song and council theme song were also played in the inaugural ceremony where all central leaders of the party were present. Delivering the welcome speech, BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir observed that the future action plan for BNP should be party, movement and election.
The veteran leader also urged the party leaders and activists to remain alert about the infiltrators from the government, alleging that the infiltrators are responsible to confuse a democratic movement. With the aim to return to “positive politics”, the BNP holds its long-awaited sixth triennial national council today, more than six years after the previous one.
Khaleda Zia and her elder son Tarique Rahman have already been elected unopposed to the posts of chairperson and senior vice chairman. Their election will be endorsed by the councillors today. However, Khaleda is most likely to not announce the name at the council.
The same will happen in case of the party’s national standing and executive committees where a number of changes are expected. The full-fledged committees would be announced two or three weeks later, sources said.