Vol. 4 Num 327 Fri. April 30, 2004  
Front Page

BNP relieved, mulls future

Although the BNP is in an apparent comfortable position after Awami League's shift from the April 30 deadline for toppling the ruling coalition, anxiety still dogs the ruling party over the anti-government movement and problems of governance.

Talking to The Daily Star, several policymakers said they did not give much importance to the deadline, but were concerned over the performance of the government.

They said the pressure on the government lessened as AL's threat fell flat, but the price hike of essentials, poor law and order and opposition's continued boycott of the Jatiya Sangsad could trigger problems.

Highly placed sources said that BNP was planning to revitalise the party and launch a vigorous campaign against the AL in an effort to face future opposition action.

It will hold public rallies across the country and strengthen grass-roots party units.

Most senior BNP leaders, including Secretary General Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, declined to comment on the deadline.

But Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain termed the AL deadline as a 'travesty of politics'.

"The government never paid attention to the deadline. It is not only illogical, but also undemocratic," he told journalists, a day before the deadline expires today.

"We have been voted into office on a five-year term and will not step down before our tenure is over," said Mosharraf, also the standing committee member of the BNP.

"There is no reason for midterm polls," he said, dismissing the AL demand.

On AL General Secretary Abdul Jalil's comment that he would play the trump card on time to ensure the fall of the Khaleda Zia government, Mosharraf quipped: "The Awami League's trump card will be joining the upcoming budget session of parliament to save membership."

But some BNP leaders admitted that the opposition deadline put them on edge as the government performance was not up to expectation.

"It's time the prime minister took effective steps to overcome future problems and gave up the hard line on the opposition," said a senior leader, requesting anonymity.

Some leaders of the BNP and its front organisations went to their offices in Dhaka yesterday in a sign of relief as the main opposition's challenge fizzled out.