BNP plans show of strength of sorts on Jan 5

Bangladesh Nationalist Party is getting prepared for a show of strength marking January 5, the day a controversial election boycotted by Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its major ally Jamaat e Islami last year brought Awami League to power for the second consecutive term. BNP will organise rallies and black flag processions to register protests against the government’s ‘undemocratic’ attitude and ‘threats’, the party leaders said. The party is also getting prepared to brave any attempts the government might make to foil its programmes. BNP is likely to announce a new course of action on the day, the party insiders said. BNP joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi at a hurriedly called news briefing at  that party chairperson’s Gulshan office on Friday afternoon said they would hold the ‘programmes’ in the capital on January 5 if the government did not permit a public meeting. ‘We will let you know’, he said when asked what kind of programme they were planning. He said the party had not yet obtained permission from Dhaka Metropolitan Police for holding the rally at any of the three venues they had applied for.

Earlier on the day, BNP standing committee member Abdul Moyeen Khan, however, said they would hold the rally in the capital on January 5 to mark the ‘democracy killing day’. Talking with reporters he said it was the affair of the government whether they would give permission or not. BNP sought permission for holding its rally either at Suhrawardy Udyan or Naya Paltan in front of the BNP central office or at Shapla square at Motijheel. About the condition tagged by the state minister for home, Asaduzzaman Khan, to a possible permission for the rally, Rizvi said the BNP had already said that the rally would be ‘peaceful’. The BNP-led alliance would observe January 5 as “democracy killing day’ to ‘mobilise’ the people against rule of the ‘illegal’ government which had come to power through a one-sided election on this day in 2014. On December 31,

BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia at a news conference announced that rallies and black flag processions would be held across the country to mark January 5 as ‘democracy killing day’. She had also hoped that the opposition alliance would be allowed to hold the rally ‘peacefully’ in the capital. Leaders and activists of BNP, who were seemingly upset and demoralised after the party in an apparent retreat did not hold a public rally which Khaleda was to address in Gazipur on December 27, now want the party to observe January 5 in a bigger way as a face saver. BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir in text messages on January 1 instructed the party’s district-level leaders to hold rallies and march in black flag processions on January 5, the party sources said.

Narayanganj city BNP general secretary ATM Kamal told New Age on Friday that they were taking preparations for organising rallies and black flag processions. He said preparations had also been made to join Khaleda’s planned rally in the capital on January 5. BNP joint secretary general Mohammad Shahjahan told New Age that the next course of action would depend on the events that might take place if the government attempts to obstruct the January 5 programmes. Dhaka city BNP joint convener Abu Sayeed Khan Khokon said that they would gather at any cost for the rally defying restrictions. BNP Tangail district president Ahmed Azam Khan told New Age on Friday that black flag processions would be brought out in the district. In reply to a question, Azam, also BNP chairperson’s advisory council member, said instructions had been given to the party’s units across the country to bring out black flag processions ‘peacefully’ to say ‘no’ to this ‘illegal’ government. Khulna city BNP president Nazrul Islam Manju said they were taking preparations to observe the January 5 programmes in a bigger way.

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