Post-mortem autopsy of BNP’s failed destructive plots


The political landscape of Bangladesh has been a theater of dynamic shifts and challenges, with the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) at the forefront of attempts to bring about significant political change. Despite its status as one of the country’s major political entities, BNP has faced formidable setbacks in its ongoing movement to dismantle the current government and establish a caretaker government.

At the heart of the BNP’s movement failure lies the leadership’s inability to efficiently plan, strategize, and execute a well-thought-out political maneuver. Professor Amena Mohsin, from Dhaka University’s Department of International Relations, underscores the core weakness of the BNP’s leadership as a significant factor in the movement’s demise. The lack of political foresight, coupled with the failure to develop counter-strategies to combat government measures, dealt a significant blow to the opposition’s aspirations.

The government’s oppressive measures, including arrests, prison torture, trials, and punishment, have created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. The convergence of the state apparatus, including law enforcement forces, with the ruling Awami League further hampered the opposition’s ability to mobilize effectively. BNP leaders have pointed out the alignment of the police, judiciary, and law enforcement forces with the government, creating an uphill battle for the opposition.

Moreover, there is a general consensus among political analysts and insiders that the BNP’s leadership lacked a comprehensive strategy to deal with the measures and tactics employed by the government to thwart the movement. The absence of a counter-strategy exposed the movement to vulnerabilities that the government skillfully exploited.

Another critical factor contributing to the failure of the BNP’s movement is its perceived dependence on foreign countries, particularly the Western world, including the United States. Within the party ranks, there was a prevailing impression that the fall of the government was inevitable with actions from the United Nations and the European Union, coupled with sanctions from the United States. However, this anticipated international intervention did not materialize, leaving the BNP disillusioned and highlighting the vulnerability of relying on external support.

The geopolitical dynamics surrounding Bangladesh’s elections added further complications, with varying positions taken by India, China, Russia, and the United States. The divergent stances of these global players created a complex web that the BNP found challenging to navigate. Political analyst Dilara Chowdhury emphasizes that the movement became entangled in the intricate geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific strategy, which impacted the trajectory of the opposition party.

Moreover, there is an ongoing debate within the BNP regarding its stance on foreign relations, especially with countries such as the United States and Europe. Some leaders argue that the party’s perception of an inevitable government downfall with foreign intervention created an undue sense of optimism, diverting attention from building a robust domestic strategy.

Successful political movements often hinge on broad-based support from various societal segments. However, BNP faced significant challenges in garnering support from students, workers, and professionals, especially in Dhaka city. The dearth of substantial participation from these key groups diluted the impact of the movement and exposed the BNP’s struggle to resonate with a diverse cross-section of society.

Furthermore, BNP’s deviation from its ideological position and its failure to engage with Islamist groups, a significant base of support, led to internal fissures. The party’s attempts to improve relations with India, distancing itself from Islamist political parties, and breaking alliances further eroded its support base. BNP’s perceived ideological ambivalence and accusations of mimicking its political opponent, Awami League, created confusion within the party’s ranks.

The absence of coordination and strategic planning with key societal segments, such as students, workers, and professionals, further weakened the BNP’s movement. Past successful movements in Bangladesh, such as the 1971 Liberation War and the 1990 anti-autocracy movement, were marked by broad-based support from diverse segments of society. BNP’s failure to rally support from these crucial groups reflected a strategic shortcoming in its approach.

BNP’s movement encountered significant setbacks in three critical instances, each revealing weaknesses within the party’s structure. The divisional rally in Nayapaltan, Dhaka, on December 10, 2022, exposed the lack of coordination, resulting in conflicts, injuries, and arrests. The subsequent failure of the July 29’ 2023 program, where decisions were allegedly made in London without consulting local leaders, highlighted internal communication issues and the challenges of managing a movement from afar.

The grand convention in Dhaka on October 28’ 2023 faced violence and conflicts, leading to police raids and further weakening the movement. Questions arose about the leadership’s failure to have a specific plan for the mass gathering, exposing organizational shortcomings. The lack of coordination and internal communication breakdowns became glaring issues that hindered the BNP’s ability to mount a cohesive and impactful movement.

In-depth scrutiny of these instances reveals an underlying problem of organizational weakness within the BNP. The lack of a centralized decision-making process and the failure to coordinate actions on the ground exposed the movement to vulnerabilities that the government skillfully exploited.

The failure of BNP’s movement is a result of a confluence of factors, including leadership weaknesses, organizational shortcomings, foreign dependence, and the absence of crucial support from various societal segments. The oppressive measures employed by the government, coupled with geopolitical complexities and internal struggles within the BNP, created a challenging environment for the opposition.

Looking ahead, BNP must address its internal issues, fortify its leadership, and engage with a broader spectrum of society to build a more inclusive movement. A reassessment of its ideological position and strategic alliances is imperative. By learning from past mistakes and adapting to the evolving political landscape, BNP can hope to regain momentum and effectively challenge the ruling government.

Moreover, there is a pressing need for the BNP to develop a comprehensive domestic strategy that is less reliant on foreign intervention. Building alliances with key societal segments, such as students, workers, and professionals, is essential for a successful political movement in Bangladesh.

BNP’s failure serves as a lesson for opposition parties globally, highlighting the importance of robust leadership, effective organizational structures, and strategic adaptability in the face of evolving geopolitical dynamics. Only through introspection, strategic recalibration, and a renewed focus on grassroots mobilization can the BNP hope to navigate the intricate dynamics of Bangladeshi politics and emerge as a formidable force once again.



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