BNP thrives on govt blunders
The BNP and its allies hope to hold the “biggest rally in recent times” today, ignoring all sorts of obstruction put up by the government.
The party yesterday said the rally would be held “at any cost” as its leaders, workers and supporters had arrived in the capital from other parts of the country through defying the government's obstructions to movement.
The BNP-led four-party alliance is to hold the rally before the BNP's Nayapaltan office, where a few other like-minded parties are also expected to join.
At the rally, the BNP chief is very likely to announce the addition of new parties into the BNP-led four-party alliance.
Aiming to mount pressure on the government, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia is also expected to declare fresh agitation programmes and issue an ultimatum to force the government into meeting the party's demand for a restoration of the caretaker government system.
Khaleda Zia last night held separate meetings with members of the BNP standing committee and leaders of the alliance and like-minded parties to finalise the party's fresh agitation programmes.
Party leaders said a huge number of volunteers and dedicated BNP activists would be at the entrances to the capital to welcome party men to the rally, which the BNP touts as “cholo cholo Dhaka cholo” (let's go to Dhaka).
They said the volunteers and activists would also tackle any untoward incidents and resist obstructions.
Police, however, did not give permission to the party to set up any temporary “welcome centres”, which are usually set up ahead of large rallies.
The party even sent a letter to the home ministry seeking adequate security measures for the chairperson and the rally at Nayapaltan.
The Dhaka Metropolitan Police yesterday evening finally gave the BNP the nod to hold the rally. It had kept the matter hanging for the last two days.
The DMP asked the opposition parties to hold the rally between Fakirerpool and Nightingale intersection between 2:00pm and 5:00pm. It asked people wishing to join the rally not to arrive at the venue more than two hours ahead.
“Police have given us the permission. The rally will start at 2:00pm on Monday. We are now starting our work to prepare the stage,” BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told The Daily Star yesterday evening.
At noon, while addressing a press briefing, Fakhrul said the government had declared war on the people by cutting the capital off from other parts of the country. He claimed that communication between Dhaka and the rest of the country through waterways, railway and roads had snapped.
“Our leaders and activists have arrived in the city defying all obstructions,” said the BNP leader, claiming that police had already arrested over 5,500 of our party activists across the country.
He also alleged that the ruling Awami League cadres assisted by police were harassing their activists on their way to the capital. Over 3,000 have been injured, he claimed.
Khaleda during a rally on January 9 Chittagong declared the “cholo cholo Dhaka cholo” programme as part of her party's anti-government movement.
Earlier, she had led road marches towards Chapainawabganj, Khulna, Sylhet and Chittagong and addressed public meetings at Lalmonirhat, Feni, Mymensingh and Bogra in the last few months to drum up public support in favour of her demand for a restoration of the caretaker government system.
The party's central office was yesterday very busy and packed with party men who arrived in the city to attend the rally. The BNP issued identity cards to 450 top members taking part in the rally.
Several thousand BNP activists thronged the party central office in Nayapaltan around 6:00pm yesterday and chanted slogans against government obstructions for the rally.
As per party decision, the BNP's own security members, volunteers and special teams comprised of 1,300 people will ensure the safety of the supporters and activists of the BNP. At least 36 medical teams will provide treatment to the activists, if required.
Khaleda's address will also be shown on 12 large screens around the rally venue. Her speech will also be streamed live on www.bnplive.com.
Khaleda Zia last night had a meeting with leaders of parties which were to join the BNP led alliance.
The total number of the parties in the alliance will be 16 or more, party sources have claimed.
Currently, the four-party alliance comprises the BNP, Jamaat-e-Islami, Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ), Bangladesh Jatiya Party (BJP) and Khelafat Majlish.
The new parties likely to join the alliance are the Liberal Democratic Party, Kalyan Party, JAGPA, National People's Party, National Awami Party, Labour Party, Islamic Party, National Democratic Party and Muslim League.
Representatives of a few other parties, including Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh, may express their solidarity with the rally.