BNP believes rallies proved its strength

BNP 1-point movement

After holding a series of rallies over the past two and half months, the BNP believes it has been able to change the perception that the party is not strong or organised enough to mobilise people.

The rallies, in which droves of people joined despite many obstacles, showed that when political parties take to the streets over issues of public interest, the programmes succeed.

Another upshot for the BNP is that the peaceful rallies gained considerable global attention this time, according to its leaders.

Speaking to The Daily Star yesterday, BNP Standing Committee member Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku, said, "The events prove the BNP is organisationally strong enough to hold rallies defying the odds, and can launch a movement even within a short time."

The rallies also prove that the party believes in peaceful movement and it is the ruling Awami League that resorts to violence and blames the opposition, he said.

"Tens of thousands of leaders, activists, and the general public joined those rallies, which were held in a peaceful and disciplined manner."

BNP activists have gained confidence by overcoming the obstacles put forth by the ruling party and the government, he said, adding that Saturday's rally in the capital was the outcome of the previous rallies' success.

Senior leaders said they had been organising demonstrations at the grassroots to boost the morale of the activists, and the first round of the programmes came to an end with the Dhaka rally.

The party now wants to carry the momentum forward and focus on ousting the government, sources said.

The BNP will organise processions across the country on December 24. The like-minded political parties will hold similar programmes simultaneously.

"From now on, all the programmes will be finalised after discussions with the like-minded parties. A liaison committee will be formed with the representation of all the parties to coordinate," said a senior leader, wishing not to be named.

The BNP's just-concluded series of rallies began in Chattogram on October 12, after which nine other rallies were held in different places.

The last event in Dhaka stirred the political landscape. It came at the cost of a life and imprisonment of hundreds, including BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.

The party leaders are now discussing the rallies and the outcomes among themselves.

Standing Committee member Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury said, "The involvement of common people was noticeable in the rallies. A movement gets success when the people participate."

Locally and internationally, people realised that the BNP's programmes were peaceful and for the people.

Transport strikes, attacks on the activists, and mobile internet restrictions were inevitable during the rallies, said other leaders.

The mass gatherings created a movement-oriented mentality among the activists, they added.

The top BNP leadership believes that the morale and commitment of the activists has been boosted and those who thought the BNP was in a leadership crisis are now praising its leaders.

BNP Vice-Chairman Mohammad Shahjahan, said, "Many of the senior leaders are in jail. The movement would be unaffected if even more senior leaders got arrested. The leaders and activists from the grassroots will make the programmes a success under the leadership of acting chairman Tarique Rahman."

BNP leaders said that the rallies have created a momentum, and now it is a challenge for the party to carry it until the demand for election under a non-partisan interim government is met.

Resignation of the BNP lawmakers from parliament was also a key to mount pressure on the government because this parliament turned into a "parliament of the ruling party and its like-minded parties."

"We have to be cautious so that none of our leaders fall into the trap laid by the government. We should not make any decision on whim and affect the momentum," Standing Committee member Goyeshwar Chandra Roy said.


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