AL to hold rallies at 16 venues in city on Jan 5

Awami League has announced it will bring out processions from each of the 16 constituencies in Dhaka city and hold rallies at 16 venues, including Suhrawardy Udyan, in a massive show of strength on January 5 to celebrate the day as ‘victory day of democracy.’ The other venues for the rallies are Purabi cinema premises, near Jurain level crossing, Jatrabari playground, near Rampura petrol pump, Dhanmondi road 32, Mirpur 1 intersection, Lalbagh, Gulshan, Sutrapur, Tejgaon, Sabujbagh, Uttara, Kamrangir Char, Mohammadpur and Kafrul.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina, also the AL president, however, would not attend any of the rallies. Party central leaders divided in 16 teams would address each of the rallies. The ruling party took the decision at a joint meeting with the Dhaka city unit leaders and lawmakers of 16 constituencies in the capital at the party president’s Dhanmondi office in the afternoon, apparently aimed to thwart the BNP’s programmes in Dhaka on the day. Meeting sources said the central AL leaders instructed the grassroots leaders and party lawmakers to ensure large attendance in each of the rallies so that BNP men did not dare to come out on the streets.

The BNP-led alliance will observe January 5 as ‘democracy killing day’. The opposition alliance along with some other political parties boycotted the controversial January 5 general elections which saw 153 lawmakers elected unopposed. The BNP-led alliance has applied to the authorities concerned for permission for holding a rally on January 5 either at Suhrawardy Udyan or Nayapaltan or at Shapla square. But it was yet to obtain permission. State minister for home affairs Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, at a programme at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre Friday morning warned that the law enforcers would take necessary steps if the BNP-led alliance tried to create trouble in the name of rally on January 5.

Awami League joint general secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif, after the joint meeting with the party’s Dhaka city unit leaders and lawmakers, branded BNP as a ‘paper tiger’ and said the paper tigers would not be found in the streets on January 5. ‘We do not see any possibility of chaos on January 5 as there will be no existence of BNP in the streets on the day,’ he said. Hanif said all the party units across the country will play the records of the speeches of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from early in the morning in their respective areas and bring out victory processions at a time from each of the constituencies at 2:30pm on January 5. The processions will terminate at the rally venues in each of the constituencies, he said. Hanif said that the BNP along with its ally Jamaat-e-Islami had unleashed terror before the January 5 polls last year but failed to foil the elections. Awami League leaders, including presidium member Sahara Khatun, organising secretaries AFM Bahauddin Nasim, Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury and Ahmad Hossain, disaster management and relief minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya and state minister for home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and lawmakers for different constituencies of Dhaka were present in the meeting.

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