BNP looks for way to revive 'listless' movement

BNP leaders and activists are coming back to the party's central office. The premises are being cleaned and spruced up. Photo taken at noon on Friday.Prpthom Alo

BNP has plans to revive its movement that has become somewhat 'listless'. However, it has not been decided upon as yet as to how the movement will be revived. The party's policymaking leaders are mulling over various strategies to this end. They are discussing the matter with their political allies as well.

After two and a half months, BNP leaders and activists on Thursday broke the lock on their central office entrance and entered. There were not many of the leaders and activists present at the office yesterday, Friday. However, senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi and a few other central leaders were at the office and held a press briefing. The district offices opened up too. In the meantime, the party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has been granted bail in nine of the cases against him. But there are more cases against him still.

Now the darkest farcical government has been formed, elected with dummy votes. BNP will continue its movement against the illegitimate government formed with dummy votes
Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, BNP senior joint secretary general

Many of the party leaders and activists are hoping that the BNP secretary general and other leaders will be released shortly and that the movement will pick up pace once again.

The 12th Jatiya Sangsad (national parliament)  election was held on 7 January amid a boycott by BNP and other opposition parties. Winning in this election which saw a low voter turnout, Awami League formed the government yet again on 11 January. BNP leader Ruhul Kabir Rizvi has termed the day that the government was formed, 11 January, a Black Day. Speaking yesterday, Friday, at a press briefing held at the party central office in Naya Paltan of the capital, he said that on the darkest day of 1/11 [referring to the 2007 military-backed caretaker government], now the darkest farcical government has been formed, elected with dummy votes. BNP will continue its movement against the illegitimate government formed with dummy votes.

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According to sources, there are plans to start meetings and rallies and mass contact programmes once again against the new government of Sheikh Hasina. After the election, BNP distributed leaflets countrywide, hailing the people for boycotting the election. While this programme ended in the two days following the election, leaflets are still being distributed informally, said party sources.

BNP leaders say that innumerable leaders and workers of the party, facing various cases, are now in hiding. And around 27,000 of the leaders and activists are behind bars. Measures must be taken to get them released on bail. Organisational activities must also be stepped up to involve the party men in the programmes.

Speaking to Prothom Alo yesterday, Friday, Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said, "There is no reason for BNP leaders and activists to be despondent. We appealed to the people to boycott the election. The people did not go to cast their votes. This government has no recognition in the democratic world. BNP is carrying on its movement. The movement will continue for as long as this government is not toppled and democracy along with voting rights is not restored."

Speaking to several leaders of parties who are with BNP in a simultaneous movement, it was learnt that they had advised BNP to plan programmes with strong preparation. They feel that the people are fed up with the spiralling price of essentials, the injustice of the government, corruption and the repeated farce in the name of elections. They are irate at the one-sided stand of the state machinery including the police and the administration. Thousands of opposition leaders and activists are enmeshed in cases. They are now being convicted on various terms. Unless this government is removed, no one will survive.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, top leader of Ganatantra Mancha and Biplobi Workers Party general secretary Saiful Huq said, the people have delivered their message by boycotting the election. Now the political parties must go for an all-out struggle or the future will be destroyed.

Friday at the Naya Paltan central office

On the second day of breaking the lock and entering, leaders and activists of various levels came to the office yesterday, Friday. Most of the discussions revolved around BNP's movement and the election. Most felt that it was a major achievement for BNP that the voters did not turn up to vote. Many others, however, said that the bottom line is that Awami League is in power again, whether the voters went or not. Alongside criticism of Awami League, there was introspection too. They criticised central leaders for not being in the movement and programmes.

Speaking to Paltan thana Chhatra Dal joint convener Md Al Amin on Friday at the Naya Paltan office, it was learnt that they felt the senior leaders were responsible for the movement's failure. They announced the programmes, but did not play any role, he said. Many were despondent because the election took place. But the movement must continue.

Chandpur's Faridganj upazila union 9 BNP president Anwar Hossain turned up at the Naya Paltan office. He told Prothom Alo, BNP has no alternative but to continue with the movement. There is no point in any gentle movement against Awami League. They must face a movement like themselves.

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