In the context of the statement given by Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tukur in the Indian English daily ‘The Hindu’ entitled ‘BNP is a secular party and Jamaat is not in favor of using religion in politics’, tension has arisen among some senior leaders of the party.
The progressive parties associated with the BNP and the party have also raised new questions on this issue – the policy change that took place in the BNP after the last 11th national elections centered on the ‘political ideology and strategy’ of party founder Ziaur Rahman and those who took the party’s policy out of the influence of ‘Southernism’. Wanted to take it, their attempt again faced obstacles within the party.
While talking to Bangla Tribune, influential and several members of the standing committee of the party said that two members of the standing committee and one vice chairman played a role behind the scenes in getting consent from the top leadership of BNP on the ‘party statement’. A statement has been obtained expressing the fear that Iqbal Hasan Mahmud’s statement will have a negative impact as Islamic parties including Jamaat are active against the government.
BNP Standing Committee member Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku said in an interview published in ‘The Hindu’ on Wednesday (November 7), ‘BNP is a liberal democratic party and we do not believe in ‘political use of Islam’. That alliance with Jamaat is now past. The question to Sheikh Hasina, she should answer, is why she did not ban Jamaat even after being in power for so many years.’ He also commented that the government led by Sheikh Hasina is showing a soft attitude towards Islamists.
In a statement sent to the media on Saturday (November 11) after Iqbal Hasan’s speech, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Advocate Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said, “Recently in an interview given to the Indian English daily ‘The Hindu’, National Standing Committee member of the party Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku Secularism (secularism) ), the statements he made about Political Islam (Political Islam) and the opinions he gave regarding Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, those statements and opinions are exclusively his own. The party has nothing to do with it.”
A meeting held between the Democracy Manch and BNP last JanuaryA member of the Standing Committee said, ‘Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku played one of the main roles in linking the BNP with the left, progressive political parties at the beginning of the simultaneous movement process. He also took forward the strategic process of Tariq Rahman’s leadership and acceptance in the anti-government movement in the left and progressive political genres.
This member also said, ‘For the past six months, he is coordinating with the opposition parties even though he is abroad. In this situation, the party’s statement insulted him. Disappointed. In particular, Iqbal Hasan Mahmud gave an interview to The Hindu after staying in India for the past few days and holding meetings and discussions with several parties.
One of the leaders of the Democracy Manch thinks, ‘BNP could have given an explanation instead of ‘justifying’ Iqbal Hasan’s statement with an official press release. In that case, the agitating religious parties took into account. Now the party has retreated putting the responsibility of the whole matter on him. At the same time, he is also in charge of the Senior Leader and Liaison Committee of the party. As a result, it would have been positive to give an explanation subject to discussion with him.’
On Sunday (November 12) morning, the leader of Manch also said, “If the party’s policy issue is once again in the hands of the right-wingers, BNP will not get any acceptance, it will be a failed attempt.”
One of the leaders of Manch, General Secretary of Revolutionary Workers Party, Saiful Haque, is of the opinion that ‘BNP made its debut as a nationalist liberal democratic party. Following that policy for a long time gained popularity. He came to power several times by winning the vote and getting the support of the people. But in between (2000-2001) the BNP moved from this position to a power-centric equation. Although it was a temporary gain, BNP was not able to organize nationalist, liberal democratic and progressive politics in the long run. After many bitter experiences, BNP is going back to their old ways. That’s why there is friendship with patriotic, liberal, democratic, progressive political parties.
‘The important aspect of this movement is that the old equation of BNP has come out of the artificial shell and returned to the place of tradition. This is what people have taken positively. Saiful Haque, referring to the 31-point reform proposal of BNP, said, “The 31-point reform of the entire state, democratic reform of the constitution, and the agenda of democratic transformation of the state are the features of this movement. BNP’s experience, combined with the reality of the 21st century, people have eagerly accepted BNP’s strategy. Power has also been taken positively by local and foreign stakeholders. There may be some differences in the ideals of different factions, ie religious or left-wing parties with this politics, but the existing reality has created a democratic space for all.’
Saiful Haque was saying, ‘The way BNP has turned from extreme right wing to center right is the resurgence of patriotic-progressive forces that made BNP popular. I have wanted to see BNP in such a role for a long time. If it leans in a different direction from there it can cause danger.’
A writer associated with the BNP told this reporter that many of the opposition parties were surprised when the party statement came in the wake of Iqbal Hasan Mahmud’s speech. He said, ‘It has been found out from multiple levels of the party, many leaders contacted him after the party’s speech in response to Iqbal Hasan Mahmud’s statement. He told a follower leader that he was shocked by the incident. He did not expect this from the team.
According to sources in the Standing Committee, the top leadership itself is embarrassed about the whole matter. Meanwhile, till the time of writing this report (November 12 at 1 pm), Tariq Rahman has not had any contact with Iqbal Hasan Mahmud. A few members of the standing committee contacted, but reliable sources said that Tuku was disappointed in the matter. Apart from this, Iqbal Hasan’s distance with two members of the standing committee and a vice chairman may make the matter further.
An influential member of the party and a political analyst said, “The official response to Iqbal Hasan Mahmud’s speech has revealed the disorganization, lack of coordination and some people’s ‘dislike’ of Iqbal Hasan Mahmud personally. In particular, the fact that the distance between the top leaders of the party became public after the arrest of BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir is also a sign of nervousness.
Another functionary of the party mentioned, BNP has never uttered the word ‘secular’. In that case, some argue that the word (secular) given in Tuku’s interview is inconsistent. If the party wanted, it could have brought the matter forward through another leader. But with the statement, the internal problems of the party were brought to light.
BNP Standing Committee member Selima Rahman told Bangla Tribune, ‘I have not read his speech. heard He gave his personal opinion. There was no distance between the top leaders of the party. We are in motion. Our meditation-knowledge movement. What we want to do is a democratic transition in Bangladesh by returning the right to vote. There is no other thought.’
On April 2, the leaders of the democracy stage at the BNP officeAccording to the responsible sources of BNP, after getting the leadership on February 8, 2018, Tariq Rahman started following the founder of the party Ziaur Rahman on the ‘strategy and politics’ of the party. In his foreign policy, his domestic political strategy, etc., he began to directly follow his father’s strategy. It is in this context that BNP started communication with progressive, liberal right-wing parties keeping a distance from religious parties. In that case, the statement signed by BNP leader Rizvi on November 11 is also believed to be ‘going towards 2000-2001’.
However, BNP senior leader Selima Rahman rejected it. During the conversation, he mentioned, ‘Everyone has the right to do politics. Jamaat is doing, Islamic movement is doing. Why does it feel like 2001? Electoral coalition is one thing, running an electoral government is another. We are now moving ahead with the movement. Jamaat is also going on the same path.
According to a person who closely observes BNP and current politics, ‘BNP may go astray temporarily due to someone’s persuasion, but at the end of the day, it has to come back either with its own intelligence or Nirupa. There is no alternative. In any case or for whatever reason he returns, it will bring benefits.’
When asked if there was any reaction or pressure from Jamaat after Iqbal Hasan Mahmud’s speech, a policy maker of the party said, ‘No pressure was given from our side. Who is with the BNP except the Islamists? BNP may have made an official statement thinking about it.’
When asked about these issues, BNP Standing Committee member Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku told Bangla Tribune, “I do not want to comment.”
Incidentally, Iqbal Hasan Mahmood went to India to visit Ajmer Sharif at the beginning of November. He visited his grandfather’s grave in Calcutta and went to Delhi. During his stay in India he met old business friends. He gave an interview to The Hindu on November 7. He left India on November 8.
Earlier, BNP Standing Committee member Salahuddin Ahmed, who was staying in India, was also in Delhi for several days. According to his family, he received treatment there.
Tuku, Rizvi’s statement under pressure within the party by speaking about Jamaat