BNP taking all-out preparation for 28 October grand rally

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BNP is taking all-out preparations for its grand rally to be held on 28 October in Dhaka. Organisational measures are being taken to bring in adequate numbers of activists and supporters to Dhaka for the event. At the same time, party leaders say, steps are also being taken to settle any differences and rifts that may exist at a field level among the leaders.

BNP sources say that the party is now focused on Dhaka to ensure that there is a massive gathering at the rally. They expect a significant number of people will join the grand rally from Dhaka and from areas adjacent to the capital city. Sources say that special directives in this regard will be issued today, Sunday, at a joint meeting with the party’s affiliated organisations. The meeting will be chaired by the BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.

In the meantime, senior leaders of the party, including the standing committee members, have been given responsibility to ensure the success of the grand rally, sources say. The standing committee members will play the role of coordinators in their respective divisions. The party vice chairmen, members of the advisory council, joint secretary general and organising secretaries will carry out this responsibility in divisions where there is no standing committee leader. Leaders have also been assigned as coordinators of every district. The objective of all this coordination is to bring in large numbers of activists and supporters to Dhaka to join the grand rally. District leaders have been instructed accordingly.

However, joint convener of the Feni district BNP, Gazi Habibullah Manik, has said that he has not received any such directives as yet. On Saturday night he said, “There is no need for any instructions any more. We will go to the grand rally. Let alone BNP and the public, I want the government to fall in my own interests. There 98 cases filed against me.”

No programmes have been determined so far by BNP policymakers concerning the next steps to be announced from the grand rally. The matter is likely to be discussed at the next meeting of the standing committee. Senior leaders of the party say they want to carry out a peaceful movement to create a mass uprising that will overthrow this government. If the government uses its party men and the law enforcement agencies to unleash violence and create chaos, then BNP will take up counter programmes. In such circumstances, hartal, blockades and such hard-hitting programmes may be taken up. So far, however, no such plans have been made at any of BNP meetings at any level within the party.

BNP standing committee member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury has said, however, that programmes will be announced as and when required. The situation will dictate what steps are to be taken.

A decision has been taken in principal to reinstate, conditionally, those who had been expelled or suspended from BNP at various times for violating party discipline

BNP leaders fear that there will be an effort to disrupt the situation centering the grand rally by nabbing and arresting the party men. This may be like the initiative taken to curb the crowds coming to Dhaka to join the mass rally of 10 December last year. In the meantime, BNP on Saturday sent a letter to the Dhaka Metropolitan Police commissioner’s office informing them of the grand rally.

Several sources within BNP have said that, as part of the effort to ensure the success of the grand rally, initiative has been taken to patch up differences among the field level leaders of the party and to reinstate those who have been expelled. They want all conflicts to be cleared before the grand rally so that the rally and the subsequent programmes are a success. The divisional level organizing secretaries have been given special responsibility in this regard. Rajshahi division organizing secretary Ruhul Quddus Talukdar Dulu went to Naogaon, Jaypurhat, Pabna and Rajshahi to carry out this duty. Upon his return to Dhaka, he was arrested on 11 October by the DMP detective branch.

A decision has been taken in principal to reinstate, conditionally, those who had been expelled or suspended from BNP at various times for violating party discipline. The party policymakers want to see them play a role in the movement in the days to come.

Nazrul Islam Manju had been relieved from his post of Khulna division organising secretary on grounds of violating party discipline. On Saturday night he said, “We cannot remain indoors at this juncture of the democratic movement. I am with the party. I have been with all the programmes. I will also join the grand rally in Dhaka with all my people.”             

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