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BNP unification moves gain pace: Hafiz ready to quit post PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Staff correspondent

Moves to unite the two factions of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party have gained pace following chairperson Khaleda Zia’s instruction to the party leaders to work together. As part of the moves, some senior and mid-level leaders from two camps have contacted each other to work out ways to bridge the gap between the feuding factions.

Hafiz Uddin Ahmed, acting secretary general of the Saifur Rahman-led faction, on Sunday expressed his readiness to quit the post to expedite the unification process. ‘I am ready to quit the post if it helps to unite the two factions of the party,’ Hafiz told reporters adding, ‘but we should strengthen the efforts for democratisation of the party.’ BNP insiders said Hafiz was ready to work with Khandaker Delwar Hossain, the secretary general nominated by the party chair after expulsion of Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan. Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, joint secretary general of the party, said that Hafiz had been in touch with the conformists’ camp for a couple of weeks seeking avenues to end the division within the party. Khaleda Zia, who was paroled for a brief period on January 19 to pay last tribute to her late mother, asked her party men to stop mud-slinging and start working together to keep the party united.

‘It is irrelevant now who did what in the past… If anybody returns to the party and works with Khandaker Delwar, welcome them,’ Khaleda said at her Dhaka cantonment residence. A day before her arrest on September 3, 2007, Khaleda expelled the party’s longest-serving secretary general Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan and appointed Khandaker Delwar Hossain to the post amid a wave of calls for reforms within the party and open criticism against her leadership.

On October 29, some members of the BNP standing committee in a midnight meeting made M Saifur Rahman acting chairman and Hafiz acting secretary general of the party, and also rejected the expulsion of Mannan Bhuiyan. Cracks appeared in the party’s façade of unity with two camps — one remaining loyal to Khaleda Zia and the other calling for reforms— publicly exchanging blames.

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