It was the morning of January 19th. BNP activists were gathering around the Chandrima Udyan, Bijoy Sarani and the Parliament area. In the cold and sweet sunshine, people exchanged laughter and pleasure moments. In the exchange of laughter and greetings, one of the activists said, “We are now doing politics of grave sojourn. No movements and no thoughts about elections.” By that time, the chitter-chatter of the little crowd came to a stop.
Factually BNP did not have any noticeable political activities in the past one year. The party was also unable to give any message to the common people. Two mentionable programs were the road march to Cox`s Bazar of Begum Khaleda Zia and a rally in Suhrawardy Uddyan. However, there was neither any instruction nor any guidance for the party activists.
19th January is the birth anniversary of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman. To mark the day, BNP`s main activity was to visit the grave of Ziaur Rahman. There were no visible posters. There wasn`t any discussion about the celebration of the founding chairman. So it was quite spontaneous to ask if BNP ever celebrated Ziaur Rahman`s birthday in such misery? “Probably not“, asserted a prominent BNP leader.
Reminiscing about the past he said, “Even during Ershad, we were away from power for nine years. But we celebrated our founder`s birthday. But this year there wasn`t any spot of it.“ Is Zia`s presence getting blurred in BNP`s politics? Is his birthday being observed just for the namesake? Several BNP leaders do not agree with such remarks. One said, “The time isn`t right to us now.” But he said, “Zia`s portrait has gained dust on it. If we do not clean this dust, what will we be left with?” Ziaur Rahman`s ideal will be murky and inconspicuous to the next generation.
BNP is unable to uphold his ideals. A young BNP leader agrees that “To the young generation, Ziaur Rahman is unappealing.“ He thinks BNP is responsible for it. The senior BNP leaders wanted to establish Zia in the place of Bangabandhu, and to attain their purpose they distorted the history and indulged themselves in lies. When today`s generation reads the true history of the liberation war of Bangladesh, Zia fails to create any spark in them. Thus Zia is getting the punishment of BNP`s crimes of distorting the history. Zia is now a supporting cast (or else a villain) in the history.”
However, political scientist Dr. Emaz Uddin Ahmed thinks that a leader lives in his party. As long as the BNP survives, Zia`s name will also sustain. But will BNP be able to survive as a political entity?
In 1982, the party stood against Ershad because Awami League supported BNP. But it is proved that BNP is unable to stand alone and start a movement on its own. The party`s motive regarding election is also perplexing. It is unclear where the party is heading to. Except for some incoherent dialogues, the party failed to provide any constructive instructions to the party members in the past few years. Is it the time that might lead the party towards the collapse? Or has it gone into a coma? Whatever it is, the fact that BNP has lost its charm and is heading towards a black-hole is quite evident.