Today’s Sit-Ins: BNP, allies aim for a show of strength

Look to send govt a message over polls-time admin
Bangladesh Politics 2022

The BNP plans a spectacular turnout in today's sit-in to send the government a message that there is no alternative to a caretaker administration for the next election.

Like-minded parties will also organise simultaneous demonstrations in the 10 organisational divisions of the BNP.

Their first simultaneous   demonstration was held in the capital on December 30.

Insiders said they are likely to demonstrate in districts across the country on January 16 protesting the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission's proposal to raise electricity prices by 15 percent.

The BNP wants to have a good start of the year because "2023 is crucial not only for the BNP but also for the people of the country. Whether the people will get back their rights or lose them forever will be decided this year," Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku, standing committee member of the party, told The Daily Star yesterday.

The leaders and activists are aware that the government will be tough on them and put obstacles on the streets, but they want to defy the odds and intensify the movement in phases to give back citizens their democratic rights, he added.

There is anger among people about the rising cost of living and the prices of essentials and fuel, said another senior leader, adding that the people were waiting for an opportunity to take to the streets.

"We have to create that opportunity. And that is why we are very cautious in taking programmes. This year, we can't afford to make a decision at whim," said the leader, wishing not to be named.

However, the BNP currently has no plans to organise programmes like hartals, strikes or blockades, he said.

The government has been trying for a long time to split the BNP and such efforts will intensify in the lead up to the national election, just a year away, said other leaders.

Cases have been filed against leaders and activists of all the tiers, and the government will use those cases as weapons to weaken the movement before the election, they added.

"But our back is against the wall. The only thing on our mind is ousting the government. Leaders and activists know that betrayers have no place in politics," said Ruhul Quddus Talukdar Dulu, organising secretary of the party.

The divisional rallies that started in October and ended in December last year proved that the BNP is organised and united, he added.

The movement will move forward in phases and all the opposition forces will be on a single platform, said other leaders.

Except Jamaat, none of BNP's like-minded parties have the strength to show their strength on the streets. However, the BNP is making them a part of the simultaneous movement as a strategy to keep the ruling party cornered.

"The people of the country and also the international community will know that all the opposition forces were on a single platform. That's why the simultaneous movement is important for the BNP," said a leader, requesting anonymity.

The party leaders held a series of meetings and assigned several senior leaders to make today's sit-in a success.

In the capital, the programme will be held in front of BNP's Nayapaltan headquarters from 10:00am to 2:00pm. The party's next course of action will be announced at the event.

The BNP has been demonstrating to press home its 10 demands that include resignation of the government and election under a non-partisan interim government.


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