Saturday, January 20, 2007

Leaders,activists skip party offices following state of emergency

The leaders and activists of most major political parties hardly visit the offices to avoid being arrested after the declaration of the state of emergency on January 11.

The central office of the BNP at Naya Paltan and of the Awami Leage on Bangabandhu Avenue in Dhaka.

The emergency has suspended the daily activities of the political parties, prompting them to hold a series of discussions indoors to assess their gains and losses after the happening. Some mid-level leaders and activists gather near the party’s central offices, but they seldom go inside. Several dozen grassroots activists gathered in front of the Awami League central office on Bangabandhu Avenue in the afternoon on Thursday, but they did not enter the office. Almost all the rooms were vacant. Only a few on the paid staff were inside.

The leaders and activists have almost stopped visiting the Dhanmondi office of the Awami League president, Sheikh Hasina, and her residence, Sudha Sadan. Only a few senior leaders, who are asked to meet the party chief, go to Sudha Sadan. No grassroots leaders and activists had visited the Dhanmondi office for three days.

The BNP’s central office at Naya Paltan also had a thin attendance at about noon on Wednesday. Only some on the paid staffs were present. Of the central leaders, the party’s joint secretary general Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, assistant office secretary Syed Emran Saleh Prince, and assistant publicity secretary Ahmed Musa now attend the office almost every evening. The BNP chairperson, Khaleda Zia, is running the party activities from her office at Banani. Although the presence of grassroots leaders was thin in front of the office at Banani, mid-level BNP leaders and former lawmakers are frequently visiting Khaleda and joint secretary general Tarique Rahman almost every evening.

The office of the Liberal Democratic Party at Baridhara has remained almost vacant after the declaration of the emergency.Only a single room of the office was open in the evening on Wednesday to liaise with the press. No central leader had gone to the office for a week. The party’s central office on the Topkhana road also remains vacant most of the time. No leader and activist visited the place in the past week.

The case is a bit different with the central office of the Jamaat-e-Islami at Moghbazar and the offices of the left-leaning political parties in the Purana Paltan areas.Most central leaders and a large number of activists are visiting the offices of the Communist Party of Bangladesh, Workers Party, Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal and the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal faction led by Hasanul Haq Inu. The security forces and law enforces, meanwhile, arrested about 9,000 persons, most of them having links with major political parties, after January 11.