The Rangpur district bus owners association has called for a bus strike ahead of BNP's division mass rally in Rangpur, from Friday morning till 6:00pm Saturday.
While the owners associations of most of the districts have supported the strike, the Nilphamari district bus minibus owners group has not given their official support.
However, they have suspended bus movement. Nilphamari BNP leaders and activists are travelling by various other modes of transport to join the rally to be held tomorrow, Saturday, in Rangpur demanding polls time caretaker government for the upcoming 12th national parliamentary election, price hike of daily essentials, release of party chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia and a few other issues.
District BNP general secretary Zahurul Alam, speaking to Prothom Alo at 11:00 am Friday, said, "Apprehending the bus strike, many of our leaders and workers arrived at Rangpur by Thursday evening. Others are now going to Rangpur by car, microbus, easy-bike, CNG-run auto-rickshaw and various other vehicles. Around 10,000 leaders, activists and supporters were supposed to go from Nilphamari, but from the people's spontaneous initiatives, it seems even more will be joining the rally."
Around 10,000 leaders, activists and supporters were supposed to go from Nilphamari, but from the people's spontaneous initiatives, it seems even more will be joining the rally
The Rangpur bus owners association have said that they have called the strike to bring home several demands including that illegal vehicles be stopped from using the highways.
However, BNP men say that this is just an ill-motivated strategy to foil the mass rally. BNP's divisional public rally in Rangpur is scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday.
Using the strike called by the Rangpur bus owners association as an excuse, from the morning buses of all routes in Nilphamari have been closed. However, movement of cars, trucks and other vehicles remains normal.
Microbus owner and driver Md. Javed Ali said, car and microbus movement is normal in Nilphamari. However, while cars are travelling to Rangpur, microbus drivers are apprehensive about taking their vehicles there in fear of the microbuses attack and vandalisation.
President of the district bus-microbus owners group, Shahajahan Ali Chowdhury, said. "We have not called for any strike from Nilphamari. Rangpur bus owners association has called for a strike to stop the movement of illegal vehicles like Nasimon, Karimon, Bhatbhati and easybikes.
"They called upon us to suspend our buses service. Today anyway there are fewer passengers normally, so we have halted our buses."
However, trucks, lorries, cars and microbuses are moving normally, he said.