BNP leaders must return to ‘Zia’s style of politics’ if they wanted to survive, Chowdhury, who served as president during Khaleda’s 2001-6 regime, said at a programme on Friday.
Chowdhury attended the unveiling of a book in Dhaka by Kurigram-3 MP AKM Maidul Islam who was a minister during slain BNP supremo Gen Ziaur Rahman’s military rule.
BNP’s founding secretary-general Chowdhury said the party went through two phases – Ziaur Rahman’s politics and Khaleda Zia’s politics.
He said the party was now going through the third phase that was driven by ideology of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh.
“BNP is now pursuing Jamaat-centric Khaleda Zia’s politics,” he said.
“I don’t think this will last long.
“Pressures are coming from everywhere. International pressure is a bit high. Thus, the fourth phase must come.”
He said BNP should revert to Ziaur Rahman’s politics in the fourth phase.
Former president Ziaur Rahman founded the party in 1978.
Chowdhury also served him as foreign minister.
He floated his own party, ‘Bikalpadhara Bangladesh’, within a year after he was forced to resign as president in June 2002.
BNP’s founding member AKM Maidul Islam won the Kurigram constituency on Jatiya Party ticket in 2014 parliamentary elections.
Islam was a minister in the governments formed after Zia’s assassination in 1981.
“Neither Maidul nor I am in BNP now. We all and the people were there in Zia’s BNP,” Chowdhury said.
“He (Zia) went from one village to another on foot to bring all on a single platform. He walked thousands of miles. Zia’s kind of politics doesn’t exist now.”
The Bikalpadhara chief observed Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman also wanted to unite people but in a different ‘way’.
The spirit of democracy did not support his ‘strategy’ of one party, he said.
Referring to BNP’s present leadership, he said, “I think BNP should return to Zia’s politics. It should represent his ideals.
“If they want to survive they should go to villages and shake hands with lakhs of people like Ziaur Rahman did.”
Chowdhury was happy about resolution of the enclaves issue during Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh but frustrated that there was no Teesta water sharing agreement.
“Mr Modi signed 22 deals and we kept nodding,” he said.
“What does a treaty mean? The best treaty is the one that provides a win-win situation. We don’t know if the treaties guaranteed it. These deals are yet to be placed in Parliament.”
Discussing the book, Chowdhury told Maidul Islam that he should write why he left the BNP and joined the Jatiya Party.
“He (Islam) has concealed many truths in the book. Perhaps, not all the truths can be said.”
At the programme, Islam discussed the book and his political career.