Vol. 5 Num 1061 Sun. May 27, 2007  

No dynastic politics in BNP?
Facts speak otherwise
What Begum Zia said about there being no dynastic politics in her party is at best a travesty of truth. The primary reason for her being brought in after her husband's death as chairperson of the BNP, was because she was Mrs. Zia. However, one must admit that it is her subsequent hard work that got her elected twice as the prime minister of the country and one that speaks of the measure of popular acceptance she earned.

It is difficult to believe that it was not mainly fraternal considerations that prompted her to only recently appoint her brother as a vice-president of the party at a time when there was a popular demand for party reform as well as doing away with dynastic politics. May we ask whether he was the senior most in line for that post? It is also difficult to believe that there was no other person other than her elder son to fill up the post of senior joint secretary-general of the party, even though there was no such post provided for in the party constitution. These appointments subverted the norms of running a party as it not only reinforced a party head's already autocratic position, those appointed to positions beyond their intrinsic capability grossly abused their positions too.

The statement of the BNP chairperson demonstrates her myopic view and a typical mind-set and also the fact she is not only impervious to popular call, she is also totally out of sync with ground realities. It must the said that the pervasive way that family ties were used in governing the country, the demarcation between the family the ruling party and the government was all but obliterated, which has had a harmful impact on the politics of the country. And this in reality is the general perception about the party and about how the country was governed the last five years.

BNP leaders, especially Khaleda Zia must start by purging the deep-seated psychology that a political party is a personal fiefdom that can be run as one. We would hope that reform of the party will be brought about in the truest sense of the term where nepotism or favouritism compelled by fraternal, maternal or filial consideration will not rule the roost.