New Islamist Party In Bangladesh Seeks ‘New Republic’
After a year of covert manouveres and overt contacts the political platform Jana Aakhankhar Bangladesh has surfaced as the Amar Bangladesh Party (ABP).
The party was launched through an online video press conference at Jana Aakhankhar’s central office in Dhaka’s Purana Paltan .
The party’s Chief Coordinator Mojibur Rahman Monju, a former Jamaat-e-Islami leader, announced the new party’s convening committee and its political program.
The ABP organisers said that in the current crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, they were trying to reconfigure the nation in the spirit of freedom.
“The coronavirus crisis has revealed the need to build a new state, which we call the struggle to build a second republic in the light of the declaration of the Liberation War,” said Mojibur Rahman.
The party was formed with former Secretary of Jamaat-e-Islam AFM Solaiman Chowdhury as convener and Jamaat-e-Islami’s expelled leader Mojibur Rahman Monju as member secretary.
Monju has been a leader of the Islami Chhatra Shibir, the students wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami.
Tajul Islam presented the party constitution and former Jamaat leader Maj (retd) Dr Abdul Wahab Minar presented the party’s seven-point program.
They announced that a convening committee comprising seven joint conveners, nine assistant member secretaries and 222 members had been formed.
The new party’s Convener Solaiman Chowdhury said: “During this crisis in the country, instead of joining the politics of corruption and looting I want to join the struggle for the rights of the people and dedicate my life to the cause.
“With our call for a new political initiative, we have received the support of the people wherever we have gone throughout the country.”
Solaiman Chowdhury also said: “In this coronavirus crisis, by forming a new political party I have made a risky decision, only to work for the welfare of the country and the people.
“I would like to start this work by remembering all the martyrs and patriots, including freedom fighters and those who gave their lives in the language movement,” he added.
Ideology of the party
Mojibur Rahman Monju said the dreams upon which the country became independent had not been fulfilled yet.
“Justice and good governance have not been established yet. After the Liberation War, coronavirus is the second crisis in our country. It is therefore time to launch our new party ABP as a bold step toward rebuilding the state,” he said.
The party’s main goal is to turn the country into a welfare state, regardless of race, caste, religion, and forging national unity in the spirit of the War of Liberation.
Democracy should ensure basic needs, including employment for the people, freedom of engaging in political activities, human dignity and social justice for the people through patriotism and religious values.
To rebuild the country by ensuring equality as promised during the Liberation War, upholding the constitution in the exercise of power and searching for strong leadership from the grassroots was one of the seven points the party leaders emphasised.
They said the ABP would launch effective social and political movements to ensure food and employment for people.
To mark the unveiling of the party, they will distribute food to 20,000 people through the food banking program.
Earlier on April 27, 2019, the expelled leader of Jamaat-e-Islami, Mojibur Rahman Monju, announced the formation of the political platform Jana Aakhankhar Bangladesh.
Subir Bhaumik on ABP formation :
The Jamaat e Islami , a pro-Pakistan party which opposed Bangladesh’s independence in 1971, had become irrelevant in a country that is growing in self confidence through rapid economic growth and human development.
With most of its leaders hanged after conviction in War Crimes trials or consigned to prison on similar charges, the younger Islamist elements felt the need for repackaging the agenda of religion- driven politics .
They will doubtlessly seek to thrive on Awami League’s growing unpopularity due to endemic corruption, nepotism and a class shift in its leadership from poor and middle class to the noveau riche with its characteristic opportunism and self aggrandizement .
ABP will seek to merge into the Opposition movement for democratic restoration to thrive on popular resentment over criminalisation and highhandedness of the Awami League leadership from the top to the grassroots.
Instead of espousing an Islamist cause, ABP will seek to couch it in the politics of democratic restoration and national self identity.
In the process, they will seek to fill the vacuum created by the drmisebif the Jamaat and the marginalisation of BNP.
The shadow of Hosni Mubarak”s Egpyt looms large over Bangladesh.
State repression and the complacency created by an apparent political monopoly gave rise to Islamic Brotherhood in Egpyt that brought down the Mubarak regime.
Unless the Awami League seriously initiates structural reform, weed out corruption and democratises the polity, it risks an uncertain future .
One also cannot rule out the rise of a military leadership a la Gen Sissi to fill the power vacuum created by a degenerate Awami League, a marginalised BNP , a decimated Jamaat and a non existent Left.
ABP with its noveau Islamist power base might exactly be the political facade of a regime backed by the military in alliance with crony capitalists masquerading as Big Business and key elements in the diaspora linked to major foreign interests.