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13 February, 2018 12:30:25 AM

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BNP to stay on the streets

AL testing BNP’s organisational strength ahead of polls
Rafiqul Islam Azad and Abu Jakir
BNP to stay on the streets

The BNP wants to continue with its peaceful street programmes demanding the release of chairperson Khaleda Zia, defying obstacles and arrests, while the Awami League (AL) is testing BNP’s organisational strength after Khaleda’s conviction. The party will stay on the streets and carry out its “non-violent” political course of action, ahead of the next general election, to involve people with the demand for the release of Khaleda and an election-time supportive government, said BNP leaders.

 

The BNP took the strategy in line with the directives of chairperson Khaleda Zia, given at the February 3 national executive committee meeting, and senior vice-chairman Tarique Rahman's audio speech at Friday’s standing committee meeting with senior leaders, they said.

The Awami League (AL) is testing the BNP’s organisational strength after Khaleda Zia’s conviction in a graft case on Thursday.

However, AL insiders said the ruling party is not worried about the BNP’s street agitation, but the party high-ups are scrutinising whether BNP leaders and activists are carrying out any terrorist or militant activities.

The insiders said if BNP leaders and workers try to launch violent programmes in the name of movement, the government will take a tougher stand against them.

BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, at a human chain programme in front of the Jatiya Press Club, warned that they would continue the peaceful programme until Khaleda is released.

The BNP rank and file have been rejuvenated after holding the peaceful programme from February 8. The programmes have drawn the attention of the people and helped get their sympathy, said a senior leader.

“There will be more peaceful programmes demanding the release of the chairperson next week,” he added.

The leader, however, said whether tougher action would be taken will depend on the prevailing situation.   

“We will not stay away from the streets despite the adverse situation. We will continue demonstrations and carry out peaceful programmes demanding the release of our leader (Khaleda) and holding the next polls under a neutral government,” he added.

Standing committee member Lt Gen. (Retd) Mahbubur Rahman said the BNP does not want to go for any violence since the party believes in peace.

He asserted that Khaleda would be released through the legal process.

“We will not fall into the government trap… That’s why we will not resort to any violent programme,” he said. The leader also said the people are with the BNP and the party wants to involve more people in the movement. After the verdict in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case that sentenced the former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia to jail for five years, BNP leaders and workers are trying to stay on the streets to register protest against the verdict, despite the government’s hard stand against them. Talking to this correspondent, AL

presidium member Kazi Zafarullah said the BNP is a major political party. It has large number of leaders and workers and they will try to stay on the streets. “We are not worried about BNP’s street agitation, but we are scrutinising their movement to see whether they [BNP] are committing any violent activity or not. If they do, people, along with law enforcers, will take care of them,” he added.

Another presidium member of the AL, Lt. Col. (Retd) Muhammad Faruk Khan, said the BNP has now become a corrupt political party with the judgment of the

special court. People will not take part in the BNP’s movement as the party practises violence in the name of political movement.

Replying to a question, the senior AL leader said Khaleda Zia is in jail for corruption. “They will try to show their strength on the streets. They should launch a peaceful movement for the sake of democracy. We are not worried about the BNP’s street agitation, but we are monitoring whether they would carry out violent activities in the name of movement,” he added.

Seeking anonymity, a central committee member of the AL told The Independent that the government will be tougher against the BNP soon. “We are weighing their organisational strength. Right now, we will not wage any counter programme to tackle the BNP, but will remain alert about their movement,” he said.

MK

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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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