The BNP and the Ganatantra Mancha have decided to unite their efforts to oust the ruling Awami League government and call for a non-partisan caretaker government for the upcoming general elections.
ASM Abdur Rab, president of the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), made the announcement after a meeting in Gulshan on Tuesday.
“Today is a historic day for Bangladesh,” he said. “A message will go out to the entire world that a massive national coalition of political parties has come together.”
“We will repair the state, conduct reforms, bring change to the constitution and engage in protest and take part in the polls simultaneously.”
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said, “We have agreed today that we will hold a united movement to create a mass uprising against this government through greater national unity. We have already started this work."
"We hope to agree on the changes we have discussed in more detail. We are sure that we will have more discussions in the future to expedite this matter and finalise decisions.”
Mahmudur Rahman Manna, the convener of Nagorik Oikya, said, "We say, with great conviction, that we are united in building a larger movement together from now on. I can say that from today, we are part of the movement and will remain in it."
He said that the proposals of the Ganatantra Mancha are similar to the various proposals described in BNP's Vision-2020.
LIAISON COMMITTEE TO BE FORMED
Mirza Fakhrul said: "There has already been huge interest and initiatives among the people of Bangladesh to bring down this government through a mass movement. We have decided that in order to speed up this matter, we will form a liaison committee based on discussions with our political parties so that it can be done as soon as possible. Our goals, our policies, our programmes, everything will go through it. We have agreed on this."
"We believe that we can accelerate this movement being by creating greater national unity to topple the government and through the active participation of the people we will be able to defeat them."
Zonayed Saki, the chief coordinator of the Ganasanghati Andolan, clarified their stance on elections. "None of us will participate in any election under this government. We demand the resignation of this government, elections under a caretaker government and a qualitative change in the governance of Bangladesh through constitutional reform."
The talks between the BNP and the Ganatantra Mancha began around 11:40 am.
Mirza Fakhrul was accompanied by two other BNP leaders -- Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury and Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku.
Participants from the Ganatranta Mancha included ASM Abdur Rab and Shahid Uddin Mahmud Swapan from Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), Mahmudur Rahman Manna and Shahidullah Kaiser from Nagorik Oikya, Saiful Haque and Akbar Khan from Bangladesh Revolutionary Workers Party, Zonayed Saki and Abul Hasan Rubel from Ganasanghati Andolan, Faruk Hasan from Gana Odhikar Parishad, Sheikh Rafiqul Islam Bablu from Bhasani Followers Council and Syed Hasib Uddin Hossain and Imran Emon from Rastro Songskar Andolon.
On Aug 8, a political alliance of seven parties opposed the Awami League government under the name 'Ganatantra Mancha'. The BNP is holding talks with the new alliance to finalise its demands in the anti-government campaign ahead of the election for the first time.
Fakhrul had separate meetings with JSD, Nagorik Oikya, Biplobi Workers Party, Ganasanghati Andolan and Gana Odhikar Parishad in May and June.