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5 January, 2018 12:29:23 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 5 January, 2018 09:26:11 AM
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Political situation heats up over Jan 5 poll anniv

BNP denied permission for Shurawardy rally
RAFIQUL ISLAM AZAD
Political situation heats up over Jan 5 poll anniv

The political situation in the country has suddenly become heated surrounding the fourth anniversary of the January 5 general election. The Awami League (AL) has planned a countrywide celebration, while the BNP will be organising black flag processions across the country. The AL will observe January 5 as ‘Victory Day for Democracy” by holding meetings and cheer rallies in the city and elsewhere in the country. In the capital, the AL will hold two rallies—one at the Bangabandhu Square and another at the Rajuk ground at Banani. The BNP will observe the occasion, what the party terms it, as “Murder of Democracy Day” and bring out black flag processions at city, district and upazila levels, protesting against “lopsided January 5 polls”.

The party, however, was denied permission by Dhaka Metropolitan police (DMP) yesterday to hold rally at Suhrawardy Udyan today. The party has been instructed to keep their programme indoors. BNP wanted to hold a rally either at Suhrawardy Udyan or in front of the party’s central office at Naya Paltan. BNP Chief Khaleda Zia’s adviser Abdus Salam said party Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir will brief media on the issue at Naya Paltan party  headquarters today.

After a meeting with the Dhaka Metropolitan police commissioner, Asaduzzaman Mia, yesterday afternoon, BNP publicity secretary Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie told reporters that the DMP requested them not to organise any outdoor programme this time.

He said the DMP commissioner told them that they (BNP) can arrange indoor programmes any time, but if the party wants to hold a rally at Suhrawardy Udyan it has to wait till later this month.

 “We will inform the DMP of our decision after discussion at the party forum,” he added.

The BNP says its programme will be a peaceful one, though its protests on the first anniversary of the election in 2015 was not peaceful. The BNP, which had boycotted the elections, blamed the government for not allowing them to freely observe its protest programme.

The government, on the other hand, said that the BNP carried out massive arson and burnt passenger buses and other transport vehicles for not complying with their three-month blockade.

The BNP that failed in its two movements prior and after the last election was not allowed to carry out outdoor programmes. It was mostly engaged in reorganisational activities and tried to turn around through indoor programmes. It is to be seen how the  government and the BNP respond to each other on Friday (today) after a gap of three years.

This time, both the parties appear to have taken the programme as preliminary preparations for the next general elections likely to be held later this year.

The programmes of the two major political parties will certainly heat up the political arena to some extent, said Hafiz Uddin Ahmed, former adviser to the caretaker government.

He suggested that the AL and the BNP should find out a way to hold the general elections in a free, fair and neutral manner. “Otherwise, the country is likely to witness violence and anarchy again,” he apprehended. Ahmed, who is also president of Sushasoner Jonne Nagorik (Sujan), said the people want the country to be ruled by consensus following democratic norms.

Earlier, BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi at a press conference accused ruling party leaders of creating an unstable situation by carrying out a propaganda against “a peaceful programme of the party”.

Criticising the government for not giving permission to the BNP to hold its rally at Suhrawardy Udyan, Annie said they still believe that the police administration would give them permission to hold the rally either at Suhrawardy Udyan or in front of the party’s central office.

He also said the BNP and its front organisations have already made preparations to make the programme a success.

The BNP leader said all, irrespective of party affiliation and opinion, should make the programme a success.

AL leaders said they expect the BNP would observe its programme peacefully. Otherwise, law enforcers would take necessary measures to control the situation.

AL cultural affairs secretary Asim Kumar Ukil said the country is stepping into the fifth year following the January 5 election. “I think the political parties will observe the day as their preparation for the next polls. I hope political parties won’t be involved in violence,” he added.

The AL had come to power for the second consecutive time after the 10th parliamentary election on January 5, 2014. A total of 154 lawmakers had been elected unopposed, as most of the political parties, including the BNP, did not take part in it.

The BNP-led 20-Party Alliance had launched unsuccessful movements before and after the polls to press for their demand to hold the elections under a non-partisan government and cancel the poll results. However, violence during the movements had left over 100 people dead and hundreds injured, prompting the government to go for a tough crackdown to control the situation.

With the next parliamentary polls likely to be held later this year, the BNP and likeminded parties have again started demanding that the election be held under a non-partisan administration.

SHK

 

 

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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