Politics heats up over Jan 5
After a somewhat stable year, the political situation in the country is once again heating up centring on the first anniversary of January 5 parliamentary polls.
The virtually one-sided election, also the bloodiest in the country's history, saw the Awami League forming government for the second time in a row and the BNP, which boycotted the polls, ending up without a representation in parliament for the first time in 22 years.
A year on, the BNP-led alliance now wants to observe January 5 as "Democracy Killing Day" and hold a rally in the capital, while the ruling party is set to celebrate it as "Victory Day for Democracy", raising among the general masses the spectre of a return of violence.
Against this backdrop, leaders of both camps are engaged in a war of words, hurling warnings and threats at each other.
State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal yesterday warned that the BNP would not be given permission to hold the rally if there is any indication that it wants to create chaos.
The law enforcers would take necessary measures if the 20-party combine attempts to trigger anarchy in the name of rally on January 5, he told the press at the capital's Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
He, however, did not specifically say whether or not the BNP would get the permission for the rally.
On the other hand, BNP standing committee member Abdul Moeen Khan said the 20-party combine will hold the rally at any cost.
"Our anti-government programmes will continue no matter what," he told the press after placing wreath at BNP founder late president Ziaur Rahman's grave yesterday.
BNP Joint Secretary General Rizvi Ahmed too said, "We will hold a rally in Dhaka on January 5 and it will be held in a peaceful manner if we get the permission."
General Rizvi Ahmed: "We will hold a rally in Dhaka on January 5 and it will be held in a peaceful manner if we get the permission."
But if the permission is not given, the government will be held responsible for any consequences that might follow, he said at a press conference at the BNP chairperson's Gulshan office yesterday.
Meanwhile, AL Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif termed BNP leaders "paper tigers" and said the leaders, who were so vocal about the rally, would not even be seen in the streets on January 5.
He was speaking at a meeting with the city unit leaders at the AL president's political office in Dhanmondi in the capital yesterday.
Senior AL leader Tofail Ahmed, also the commerce minister, yesterday dismissed any possibility of dialogue with the BNP over a fresh election, a longstanding demand floated afresh by BNP chief Khaleda Zia on Wednesday.
The next parliamentary elections would be held in 2019 under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's administration, not under a non-party caretaker government, Tafail told reporters at a programme at Jahangirnagar University.
Earlier, the AL's Dhaka city unit redrew its plan to counter the BNP on the streets on January 5.
Apart from its prescheduled rally in the capital's Suhrawardy Udyan, it decided to hold 15 more across the capital to make sure, as the city unit leaders said, the BNP men cannot create any unwarranted situation.