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11 August, 2018 12:36:55 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 11 August, 2018 01:25:28 PM
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Political arena likely to heat up after Eid-ul-Azha

Rafiqul Islam Azad and Abu Jakir
Political arena likely to heat up after Eid-ul-Azha

The country’s political arena might heat up with an imminent face-off between the Awami League (AL) and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), as both parties are preparing to hit the street after Eid-ul-Azha. In an apparent show of strength just three months ahead of the general election, the BNP is planning to launch a tough anti-government movement after the major religious festival of the Muslims later this month. On the other hand, the AL has asserted that the government was prepared to resist any attempt to create anarchy by opposition leaders and activists.

The BNP is planning to take to the street after Eid and launch an all-out movement to free party chairperson Khaleda Zia and force the government to hold the general election under a neutral administration, according to party leaders. The party wants to free Khaleda Zia, serving a five-year jail term in a graft case, and resolve the current political impasse through discussion among political parties. Otherwise, the party will take to the street at an appropriate time after Eid, said the leaders.

The party's central leaders, during meetings with grassroots level leaders in Dhaka on August 4-5, asked them to strengthen the party base  and prepare for a movement, if necessary, after Eid.

The grassroots level leaders conveyed to the central leaders that they are not allowed to hold rallies and meetings in their respective districts, and called upon them to wage a strong movement to free Khaleda and force the government to hold the next polls under a neutral administration.

The BNP, that had boycotted the January 5, 2014 national elections, this time made it clear that they won’t take part in the polls without freeing party chairperson Khaleda, forming of a neutral government, dissolving of Parliament and deployment of the army during the polls, which is likely to be held later this year.

A BNP standing committee member, Nazrul Islam Khan, said they are yet to take any decision about the party’s next course of political action. “We will meet soon and decide our next course of action. We have not thought about it till now,” he added.

BNP vice-chairman Shamsuzzaman Dudu said the situation would determine the course of the movement that does not need preparation. “Preparation is not required for a movement. Rather the situation creates the ground for movement and its nature,” he added.

Dudu also said the central leaders heard what the grassroots level leaders had to say and they would decide the next course of action and movement.

He alleged that the head of the government, police and the Election Commission (EC) have become one in unison on the election mechanism. "In such a circumstance, it is not possible to expect anything from the government and the EC. The prevailing situation is not good at all," he said.

Referring to the sudden movement of the students, Dudu said a decision in this regard would be taken as the time and situation would demand.  BNP joint secretary general Mujibur Rahman Sarwar said the party is still busy reforming party committees at different levels and working to strengthen the party’s base at the grassroots level, since it is the precondition to launch any movement.

Terming the current stalemate as a political one, Sarwar said it is possible to resolve the problem through discussion. “If the government does not take the initiative to resolve the problem through talks, there would be no path but to launch a movement,” he added.

Ruling party leaders, however, dismissed the BNP’s threat of launching a movement with disdain. They said they would give a fitting reply if BNP leaders and workers tried to create anarchy in the name of launching any movement after Eid.

Talking to the media recently, AL general secretary Obaidul Quader said they were not worried about the BNP’s movement as the party had failed to forge any tough agitation in the past nine years.

“So, the BNP would not be able to wage a tough anti-government movement. Yes, the party will try to hatch a conspiracy against the government and try to create anarchy ahead of the next polls. But they will not succeed,” he added.

When contacted, AL joint general secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said: “The BNP will try to create anarchy this year in a bid to destabilise the government, but we will remain alert against its conspiracy. If it creates any trouble, our law enforcers will take care.”

Dhaka south city unit AL general secretary Shahe Alam Murad told The Independent yesterday that the Dhaka city unit Awami League is always ready to give a fitting reply to the BNP if it tries to create anarchy.

“Whenever BNP leaders and workers try to take to the street, we are ready to resist them. We’d not sit idle for the party high-ups’ instructions,” he added.  After the elections of January 5, 2014, the BNP had launched a three-month-long violent movement against the government. Since then, the party has not been able to forge any tough agitation due to the hard stand of the Sheikh Hasina government.

IK

 

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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.

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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