Amid various speculations, political tension and the arrest of a huge number of party leaders and activists, BNP is set to hold its last divisional rally in the capital on Saturday to deliver its messages for a simultaneous anti-government movement in the run up to the next general election.
The rally that will be arranged by Dhaka south and north city units of BNP in Golapbagh field near Sayedabad is scheduled to formally begin at 11:00 am.
Though the party formally got permission to organise the rally there around 3pm on Friday, the Golapbagh ground has been teeming with BNP activists and followers by Friday evening as they reached the venue in advance with huge enthusiasm.
BNP senior leaders, including the standing committee members, will address the rally.
As part of the move to continue the pace of its ongoing movement, the BNP on September 27 announced a series of public rallies in 10 divisional cities to denounce the price hike of daily essentials and fuels, the death of five party men in previous police action in Bhola, Narayanganj, Munshiganj and Jashore, and to ensure the freedom of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.
The party has already arranged rallies in Chattogram, Mymensingh, Khulna, Rangpur, Barishal, Faridpur, Sylhet, Cumilla and Rajshahi braving various obstacles and transport strikes.
BNP has long been demanding that the next general election be held under a caretaker government, not under any political government — a demand sharply rejected by the ruling Awami League as the constitution does not allow it to happen.
The party is going to conclude the divisional rallies through a mass gathering in Dhaka city tomorrow (Saturday) which coincides with International Human Rights Day.
BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain at a press conference called upon the Dhaka city dwellers to spontaneously join their party’s rally on Golapbagh ground peacefully to give the government a befitting reply to its efforts to foil a democratic programme.
“We will hold the programme in Dhaka peacefully as we did in nine other divisional cities. We call upon people from all walks of life to participate in our programme spontaneously,” said Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, a former cabinet minister and the most senior member of the BNP’s standing committee.
10-point demand to be announced
Mosharraf said from their rally, they will announce a 10-point demand for ensuring the fall of the Awami League government.
“We have already discussed the points of the movement with those who are ready for waging a simultaneous movement with us. We hope they will simultaneously announce the 10 points—that we have formulated– from their respective positions,” he said.
Mosharraf hoped that all parties who reach an understanding with them to initiate a simultaneous movement—will move forward and intensify the anti-government agitation based on the points of the movement to be declared from the rally.
A BNP standing committee member, wishing anonymity, said the party will also announce some fresh action programmes like demonstrations, token-hunger strikes, human chains and sit-ins from the rally demanding the release of party’s leaders and activists and press for their 10-point demand.
He said their demands include the resignation of the government, dissolution of parliament, including the provision of the caretaker government in the constitution through an amendment, formation of a fresh election commission under the caretaker government, creating a level-playing field before the election, holding the election using ballot papers, releasing BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and all other political prisoners without any condition and revoking the Digital Security Act and other repressive laws, ensuring the freedom of expression and assembly and keeping the all essential items within the buying capacity of people.
BNP had the plan to hold the rally at Nayapaltan in front of its Nayapaltan central office, but the government first gave the party permission to arrange the programme at Suhrawardy Udyan. BNP denied using the Suhrawardy Udyan for the rally on security grounds, creating huge political stalemate.
On Thursday night, a BNP delegation had a six-hour meeting with the DMP commissioner where they talked about holding the rally on Saturday (December 10) either at Kamalapur Stadium or Mirpur Bangla College ground.
Later, Abbas with some BNP leaders visited the two venues.
But plainclothes police took away BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and Mirza Abbas from their homes in separate raids around 3am on Friday, creating uncertainty over the rally.
As two BNP leaders went to Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) office around 2pm with a fresh application for using Golapbagh ground for the rally, police gave the party permission to arrange the programme there.