Despite the 48 hours’ public transport and launch strike enforced in Khulna, thousands of leaders and activists of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) have gathered at the venue of mass rally at Sonali Bank Chottor in Khulna.
The rally, scheduled to begin on Saturday afternoon, was called as part of the party’s central programmes on demand of polls time caretaker government, and protesting price hike of fuel oil and daily necessaries and a few other demands.
Thousands of leaders and activists of the BNP reached the rally ground on the night before the day of rally by train, trawlers and on foot.
They were seen sleeping on footpath and roads on plastic mats. Various leaders of the party were providing breakfasts to them.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir will be present as chief guest at the rally, set to be held at Sonali Bank Chottor in between Dak Bunglow and Ferrighat Mor at 2:00pm.
We could not sleep at night but there is no problem with food. Our party leaders have been serving food. Everyone is chanting slogans, music is also being played; overall the whole environment is festive
The BNP leaders and activists alleged that they had to face different types of hindrances on their way to join the rally from the leaders and activists of the ruling party’s associate bodies.
A visit to the rally ground at 6:30am revealed that some of the party men were sleeping, some were having breakfast, some were chanting slogans, and some were busy taking selfies. Small pick-up vans were being used to provide food and drinks to the activists.
Construction of the stage was going on while country and party music were being played in loudspeakers.
Tipu Sultan from Kumarkhali, Kushtia, was gossiping with another person just a few feet away of the stage while many around them were sleeping. Tipu Sultan said he along with another 170 people reached Khulna by train at around 12:00am and slept at the ground lighting a mosquito coil. They were served breakfast but he is yet to have it.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Babul Sheikh, a leader from Abhaynagar union in Jashore BNP, said around 300 of them arrived at the rally ground by trawler.
“We could not sleep at night but there is no problem with food. Our party leaders have been serving food. Everyone is chanting slogans, music is also being played; overall the whole environment is festive,” he added.