Monday, January 5, 2009

Rajshahi BNP men urge party high-ups to abandon Jamaat

Jamaat trying to reorganise party


Blamed by its major partner BNP for the poll debacle, Jamaat-e-Islami has intensified organisational activities to protect its existence in Rajshahi region, an area that saw rise of Islamist militancy allegedly under Jamaat protection while in power.

BNP sources here said they have already suggested party high-ups to 'reconsider' its alliance with Jamaat, saying its popularity dipped for siding with the fundamentalist party.

"After the election, we are now busy in organisational activities", said Abul Kalam Azad, general secretary of Rajshahi city Jamaat.

Replying to questions, he said, "We are not taking into account what others talk about us. If any one thinks we are no more his friend, he has his liberty. We are not concerned about it", he said.

Among the four-party alliance contestants, Jamaat leaders lost in all 17 seats to grand alliance and BNP gabbed only 8 out of 72 in Rajshahi division in the December 29 polls.

Seeking anonymity, several front ranking BNP leaders expressed their anxiety that the party might suffer more losses if it continues to deny people's verdict against anti-liberation forces and war criminals.

They said Jamaat men always serve their own interest and use BNP's strength to gain strength.

Many Jamaat leaders did not take part in poll campaigns of BNP nominees. Instead they worked for Jamaat candidates in the region. Moreover, Jamaat contested against BNP candidates in Rajshahi-3 and Chapainawabganj-3 constituencies, the BNP leaders said while talking to this correspondent.

"We were defeated in the city corporation election also because Jamaat did not support the BNP candidate with full heart", said a BNP leader in Rajshahi city.

Another BNP leader in Natore termed the election result a 'calamity' on BNP and said the only way to escape it is to get rid of Jamaat. They said they have suggested party high-ups to keep away from Jamaat.

"It is for Jamaat's protection that the so-called Islamist militancy found root in the country. Besides, people's support to Jamaat is decreasing fast", he said.

Echoing the Natore BNP leader, a BNP candidate who lost in Rajshahi district said, Jamaat leaders' negative campaign during the election created a huge gap with peace loving people. "BNP paid a high price for friendship with them (Jamaat)", he said.

Jamaat made a false propaganda of death of a BNP candidate on the even of the election and used parody songs in campaign to criticise opponents of Jamaat candidates in some areas of the region. This drove voters away from BNP candidates, he said.

In Chapainwabganj, Jamaat factor was a major cause for BNP's defeat, said a party leader. Nominating candidates facing corruption charges was also a factor, he said.

However, two Jamaat leaders in Natore and Chapainwabganj held the alleged corruption by former BNP stalwarts responsible for their poll debacle. They said, there is nothing to gain from any division in the four-party alliance.

Rajshahi BNP president Azizur Rahman, a close aide to BNP stalwart Mizanur Rahman Minu, said there is nothing to blame Jamaat alone. "A big party must have some faults when it governs a country for five years".


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