Terming Khaleda Zia the heartbeat of 16 crore people, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir yesterday said the present autocratic government will not be able to keep Khaleda behind bars for long.
“We are not demonstrating to go to power. Our goal is to restore democracy and voting rights of people through releasing our party chairperson,” said Fakhrul.
The BNP leader said this while addressing a rally in Mymensingh as chief guest. The district unit of BNP organised its first divisional rally at Railway Station Krishnachura Chattar in the city in the afternoon.
BNP activists and leaders from ward, upazila and union levels of the division participated in the event.
“Many locals also joined us,” said AKM Mahbubul Alam, organising secretary of the party’s city unit. “Despite getting permission for the venue around 11:30am today [yesterday], the rally was a success.”
At the rally, Fakhrul said prices of gas, electricity and commodities are rising regularly, but farmers are being denied fair price for their products.
“No one voted for this government and ruling Awami League robbed the national election of December 30 a night before, with the help of state agencies,” alleged Fakhrul.
He demanded that the parliament be dissolved and a fair election be held under a neutral Election Commission.
The senior leader also alleged that some of their party men had been arrested in last few days and many were barred from attending yesterday’s rally.
He urged law enforcers not to favour the “anti-people” government as they are looting peoples’ property and engaged in misdeeds.
BNP central standing committee member Khondokar Mosharraf Hossain said Khaleda Zia is in jail due to political vendetta. “The administration gave us permission for the rally just three hours before the scheduled time, but they could not stop people from attending,” he added.
About casinos, Mosharraf said they were being run with the government’s patronisation.
Mirza Abbas, another standing committee member of the party, said, BNP is the only party that can restore democracy. “We will continue our movement to free Khaleda Zia, democracy and the country.”
The rally was chaired by Prof Shafiqul Islam, acting president of BNP’s Mymensingh district (south) unit. Standing committee members Goyeshwar Chandra Roy and Nazrul Islam Khan; vice chairman Dr AZM Zahid Hossain; joint secretary general advocate Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal; divisional organising secretary Syed Emran Saleh and assistant organising secretary Wares Ali Mamun also spoke.
A large contingent of police were present outside the field, but no untoward incident took place.