BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has urged the Awami League-led government to restore the caretaker government system at the upcoming parliamentary session in order to avoid people’s wrath.
Speaking at a rally at Suhrawardy Udyan in the capital, she said that if voted to power at the next polls, her party would “introduce a new trend in running the government and practise politics of unity, not division”.
Khaleda, the leader of the opposition, slammed Hasina over her Sunday remark that she would not budge an inch from the current constitutional provision for holding the next parliamentary polls.
“You said you will not move even by a hair’s breadth. But such a wind will rise through people’s movement that your hair will be blown away. You will not be able to control the situation and your existence will be at stake,” she said, referring to Hasina’s comment.
She called upon the government to create a level-playing field by restoring the provision for a non-partisan polls-time government to test its popularity.
“Let’s see who gets more votes. What are you afraid of? Why are you unwilling to restore the caretaker government system?” she questioned.
The BNP chief also asked her party leaders and supporters to prepare for launching an agitation against the government.
Swechchhasebak Dal, the volunteers’ wing of the BNP, organised yesterday’s rally to mark its 33rd founding anniversary.
Khaleda launched a blistering attack on the AL-led government and portrayed a gloomy picture of the country during its tenure.
Strongly criticising the government for “killings and incidents of disappearance”, she said people did not believe that the AL-led government would hold a free and fair election.
She said the Jatiya Party, a key component of the AL-led grand alliance, had already announced that it would not participate in the election if it was held under a political government. “If that happens, with which party will you [the AL] go to the polls?” she asked.
“The government will not be allowed to hold a one-party election,” said Khaleda.
“You try to frighten us every now and then. You try to scare us with the minus-two formula and imprisonment. We are not scared of any of these, as we were not involved in any corruption.”
“But you have to suffer because your people have looted public property,” she said.
Khaleda said the AL had included many things in its election manifesto, but it failed to deliver on its commitments. “That is why people have lost trust in the Awami League.”
She also demanded the immediate release of acting Amar Desh editor Mahmudur Rahman and Odhikar Secretary Adilur Rahman Khan, claiming they both were put behind bars for telling the truth.
The former prime minister said if her party returned to power, it would ensure human rights, build a deep seaport, provide uninterrupted gas supply, construct two Padma bridges, and introduce faster train services between Dhaka and Chittagong as well as Sylhet.
Besides, it would reform the quota system in the public service, ensure food security, and free the administration and police from politicisation, boost the IT sector and send more manpower abroad.
The BNP chief said her party would later announce its manifesto for the next parliamentary polls.
A number of senior BNP leaders, who spoke at the rally, also urged party leaders and workers to prepare for street agitations.
The BNP-led 18-party alliance has decided to hold rallies at all divisional headquarters in September and early October to revitalise its grassroots leaders and activists.
Khaleda will address all those rallies to drum up public support for the opposition’s main demand for the restoration of the caretaker government system. It will then intensify street agitation at the end of October to force the government to amend the constitution for restoring the provision.
Acting BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir announced the schedules for the rallies at a press conference at the party’s central office in Nayapaltan around 12:00noon.