Bangladesh Table of Contents
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party received a heavy blow as a result of Ershad's March 1982 coup. From a position of control under Zia, it was thrown into the political wilderness, with many of its leaders prosecuted for corruption. During the 1982-83 period, the party was divided into two groups, one headed by Abdus Sattar, the deposed president, with Khaleda Zia as senior vice chairman, and the other headed by former Minister of Information Shamsul Huda Chowdhury. The latter group quickly disappeared, and the dominant faction found a popular leader in Khaleda Zia. She became party chairman and was reelected unopposed in 1986. Throughout the 1980s, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party led a seven-party alliance that consistently refused to recognize the Ershad regime. The price it paid for this stance was an inability to participate in the government. In fact, the policies advocated by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party differed little from those of the Jatiyo Party once it was in power, for both groups were descended from the military rule of Zia's time. Although the Bangladesh Nationalist Party generally ranked behind the Awami League in terms of public support, it had a presence in the countryside through its peasants' wing, the Jatiyobadi Krishak Dal (Nationalist Peasants Party), formed in October 1987. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party also backed a student wing called the Jatiyobadi Chhatro Dal (Nationalist Students Party) and a workers' front called the Jatiyobadi Sramik Dal (Nationalist Workers Party).
Data as of September 1988