By Shahidul Islam
Leaders of the BNP and the Awami League are busy preparing separate roadmap for democratic reforms in their respective parties with a view to freeing the two major political parties from autocratic dynastic control and corruption. Insiders yesterday said senior leaders, who were involved in preparing the documents of the roadmap in both the parties, were ready to bring about reforms even without their respective party chiefs-BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia and Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina if they do not agree to the proposals.Begum Zia and Sheikh Hasina, who alternated as Prime Minister of the country during the last 15 year from the restoration of democracy in 1991 and dominated national politics featured with violence due to their personal rivalry, were now widely blamed for high profile corruption.Reformist leaders-Suranjit Sengupta, Mukul Bose and Mahmudur Rahman Manna of the AL and Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman, Major (retd) Hafiz Uddin and Ashraf Hossain of the BNP told journalists separately that their proposed reform document was aimed at establishing joint leadership and democratic practice in their respective parties from top to bottom. Besides, the party constitution will be democratise, corrupt elements will be purged from both the parties. And the parties will be freed from leaders appointed on family background. They have identified the centralisation of excessive power in single hand (of Khaleda and Hasina), both as Prime Ministers and party chiefs and their practice to promote family members in the government and party leadership as the major reasons for triggering an all-pervasive corruption and reducing democracy both within the government and the parties.Meanwhile, the two former Prime Ministers have been considerably marginalised by efforts to reshape politics from their own parties, corruption charges and the interim government move to make governance free from corruption.However, there is a second group in both the parties, who support Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina despite the high-profile corruption charges against them and their wrongdoings, including the autocratic practices. There is also a third group, in both the major parties, which have not yet decided as to which sides they would take.In the meantime, reformist leaders in the BNP are now conducting a signature campaign on document, which reportedly asks party Chairperson Khaleda Zia to relinquish her position and expel her elder son Tarique Rahman, the Senior Joint Secretary General, for their involvement in corruption.Over 100 former ministers and MPs as well as leaders have already signed the document. Led by BNP Secretary General Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, the reformist leaders will decide their next course of action if Begum Zia does not comply with their request. "Begum Khaleda Zia has lost moral right to lead the party following the recent corruption stories involving her," said Lt Gen Mahbubur Rahman, who is a member of the BNP National Standing Committee, the highest policymaking body of the party."She cannot shrug off her responsibility for the debacle in both the BNP government and the party," he added. Another reformist leader Joint Secretary General and former Whip Ashraf Hossain said autocratic dynastic control from the BNP should go once for all.However, party Vice Chairman and former Minister, also a reformist, said the arrest of a number of party leaders on different ground has made their task difficult.BNP Joint Secretary General Gayeswar Chandra Roy, however, blamed senior leaders, including the votaries of reform, for non-practicing democracy in the party. AL Acting General Secretary Mukul Bose and Organising Secretary Mahmudur Rahman Manna said they were preparing a reform document that would be distributed at all levels of the party.Mukul Bose said three Presidium members-Abdur Razzak, Tofail Ahmed and Suranjit Sengupta have prepared a document for reform in the party."The document will also be given to party President Sheikh Hasina and she will be asked to clarify her position on the issue," he said, asserting that they would bring about reforms without Sheikh Hasina if she does not agree. He told a private TV channel last night that the AL would remove Sheikh Hasina from the post of party President if her corruption charges against her were proved. Mahmudur Rahman Manna said they have contacted many leaders and all of them were in favour of reforms.Although Begum Khaleda Zia's position on the issue could not be known, Sheikh Hasina opposed the move initiated by the senior leaders of her party saying, "I my self initiated the process of reform both inside the party and the country."