Senior BNP leaders on Wednesday warned the government that people will not let parliamentary polls happen in the country unless their party chairperson Khaleda Zia is released from jail.
Speaking at a two-hour token hunger strike, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leaders also pledged to free Khaleda, a former prime minister, through a movement, reports UNB.
The BNP organised the programme from 10:00am to 12:00noon on the premises of Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh in Dhaka.
“The country's people and different political parties have now reached a consensus that the next election must be fair and a participatory one. Our foreign friends are also saying the polls must be inclusive,” said BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain.
The BNP leader alleged that the government has kept Khaleda Zia in jail by convicting her “unfairly in a false” case.
He criticised the government for not taking steps for ensuring proper treatment of Khaleda. “It’s the government’s responsibility to provide her with treatment since she is in jail.”
Mosharraf also alleged that the government is conspiring to hold another 5 January like election to cling to power. “We would like to say we won't allow holding of any such voter-less election.”
He renewed their party's demand for resignation of the government before the announcement of the election schedule, reconstitution of the election commission and deployment of army to hold the next polls in a fair and credible manner.
BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed said now it is not possible to free Khaleda Zia from jail through a legal battle.
“Taking to the streets is the only way to ensure her release. We're on a movement and we'll intensify it to oust the government.”
The BNP leader called on its leaders and activists to take necessary preparations to make their movement a success.
Thousands of BNP leaders and activists holding banners, festoons and placards joined the token hunger strike.
A large number of law enforcers were deployed near the venue to maintain law and order.
The BNP men broke their hunger strike by taking water provided by former vice chancellor of Dhaka University professor Emajuddin Ahmed around noon.
Similar programmes were held in most district towns and metropolitan cities across the country.
On Monday, the BNP formed human chains across the country, including in front the National Press Club in the capital, to press home the same demand.
BNP chairperson Khaleda has been in jail since a special court convicted her in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on 8 February.