Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rajshahi BNP in crisis as bigwigs in jail or hiding

Party men sat at the chamber of its district president yesterday as the district unit has no office

With opening of indoor politics, the leaders and activists of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in Rajshahi are facing crisis due to lack of guidance in absence of party bigwigs.

One of the them is in jail and four others are hiding.

BNP has no office of its own in the city. Party men sat at the chamber of district BNP president Azizur Rahman yesterday.

The building at Sonadighi intersection that Rajshahi Red Crescent rented from Rajshahi City Corporation was used as BNP office for over a decade. After taking over of the present government in January last year, Red Crescent re-established its office there.

Another office that was running at a house at Chal Patty in the city was also closed after emergency.

Former lawmaker and Rajshahi mayor Mizanur Rahman Minu, who got 13 years imprisonment in an extortion case, is now in jail. Several other cases for corruption, tax dodging and extortion against him are under trial.

Former telecommunications minister Aminul Haque, ex-lawmaker Nadim Mostafa and Rajshahi district BNP Secretary Shish Muhammad are absconding while ex-lawmaker Abu Hena is staying abroad.

Another bigwig, ex-lawmaker Kabir Hossain is virtually inactive due to his illness.

City committee is non-existent and there is no office in the city for its workers to meet.

Former minister Aminul Haque went into hiding after declaration of emergency. He and Shish Muhammad were awarded 31 years and six months imprisonment for patronising militants of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh.

Shish Muhammad is also absconding.

Nadim Mostafa, also city BNP secretary, went into hiding after the present government's take over. Accused in several graft cases, Nadim is now living in Malaysia, sources said.

Abu Hena was ousted from the party for being vocal against involvement of Jamaat (BNP's coalition ally) behind the 2004 rise of militancy in the country. He was taken back in the party after announcement of elections (later cancelled) scheduled for January 22 last year. He went abroad about a year ago.

Due to illness, former lawmaker Kabir Hossain has refrained from any outdoor politics for a few years. However, many BNP leaders and workers regularly meet at his house for political discussions.

The last city BNP committee was formed on September 30 in 2003 with Minu as its president but Minu was later pressurised to step down.

Later following directives from BNP high-ups, Saleh Uddin Baby and Nadim Mostafa were made president and secretary of the city committee.

Nobody assumed the president's post after Baby died on November 3, 2005.

At present, the party's city unit is inactive while there are several minor groups among the workers.

Azizur Rahman is working as the district committee president while Mustafizul Iqbal was made the secretary after district BNP secretary Shish Muhammad went into hiding.

BNP activists were yesterday seen gathering at different city points and roaming around private chambers and houses of leaders.

Former lawmaker Mizanur Rahman Minu, also the central organising secretary, was at the centre of BNP politics in the district. He was the mayor of Rajshahi City Corporation for 16 years.

Denying any crisis in Rajshahi BNP, Azizur Rahman said, "We believe our leaders were implicated with false cases and one day they will be released. Now the district committee will control the activities of all other units."

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