Hartal again

Hartal again

BNP happy at low turnout

Ecstatic over the low turnout and the opposition's election-day protests, the BNP-led 18-party combine last night called a nationwide 48-hour hartal from 6:00am today.
The opposition alliance announced the fresh programme demanding cancellation of polls results and protesting killing of opposition men on the polling day.
Apart from the hartal, the countrywide indefinite blockade of rail, roads and waterways, already in force from January 1, will continue, BNP chairperson's adviser Osman Faruq told a press briefing at his Gulshan residence at 6:00pm, two hours after polling in the 10th parliamentary elections had closed.
BNP sources said its Chairperson Khaleda Zia was pleased with the low turnout in the national polls and the demonstration yesterday by the BNP-Jamaat men to resist the polls.
“We are greatly inspired by the way people have rejected the January 5 elections. Considering our recent disorganised movement, we actually didn't expect this. We want to utilise people's no-confidence in the government to boost our movement and make it a success,” said a top alliance leader.
A BNP joint secretary general last night said now the opposition's movement will continue ceaselessly until the fall of the government.  
“We are planning to wage a new type of movement to ensure participation of mass people in it,” he mentioned, without elaborating.
The opposition combine might go for a non-cooperation movement after January 25, the last day of the present parliament.
Another BNP leader admitted that the opposition had a “wrong strategy” for the anti-government movement and also committed mistakes at different phases of the agitation. But by not casting their votes in the polls, people have rejected the government and there is no more lacking in opposition's movement.
 The BNP leadership, he noted, is inspired to see violent demonstrations across the country to resist the elections.
“It's a reality in our politics that the number of deaths in a movement determines its success,” Hamdullah Al Mehedi, general secretary of Bangladesh Labour Party, told The Daily Star.
“On that count, our movement to resist the polls has been a success as at least 18 people have died so far on the polling day alone,” he added.
On the low turnout, Osman Faruk said people have “hatefully rejected” the prime minister and the ministers' call to go to polling centres and cast their votes.  
“The government has entirely been detached from people and the nation has no support for this administration. The fall of the autocratic and undemocratic government is certain now,” mentioned the BNP leader.
 He demanded the government sit in a dialogue immediately with the opposition on holding free, fair and inclusive elections under a non-party arrangement.
Police yesterday took away the water cannon from in front of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's Gulshan residence.
Additional members of law enforcement agencies were also withdrawn from there. However, no opposition man was allowed to meet the BNP leader, said party sources.
Earlier on Thursday and Saturday, law enforcers removed all five sand-laden trucks from the roads near Khaleda's residence. The vehicles were parked there to block the roads.
Law enforcers virtually confined the opposition leader to her residence since December 28, a day before the opposition sponsored “March for democracy” programme.
The government, however, claimed that all the measures had been taken to boost Khaleda's security.


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