The leaders of BNP and some like-minded parties and alliances on Monday urged the government and the Election Commission (EC) to take steps for holding a credible and inclusive election cancelling the January-7 schedule for the 12th parliamentary polls.
They made the call during staging demonstrations and rallies in different areas of the capital in support of their ongoing 48-hour hartal on Monday.
The leaders and activists of BNP and its associate bodies brought out sudden processions in different areas, including Karwan Bazar, Doyagonj, Bijoynagar, Purana Paltan, Saidabad, Tejgaon, Motijheel, Jatrabari, Lalbagh, Kakrail, Shantinagar, Dhanmondi, Basabo, Moghbazar, Rampura, Ramna, Shahjahanpur, Khilgaon and Mirpur areas during the second day of the 48-hour hartal.
Besides, Ganatantra Mancha, two factions of Gono Odhikar Parishad, the 12-party alliance LDP, and Left Democratic Alliance also staged demonstrations and rallies in Bijoynagar, Purana Paltan and Jatiya Press Club areas.
From these processions and rallies, the opposition leaders and activists chanted various slogans against the Election Commission and the government for their ‘attempt’ to hold a lopsided election.
As in the previous days since October 29, BNP’s Nayapaltan central office remained locked on Monday amid the presence of law enforcers on roads on both sides in front of the BNP central office.
BNP senior joint secretary along with some party leaders and workers brought out a sudden procession in the Karwan Bazar area around 6:30am in support of the hartal.
Later, he also brought out another procession in the Doyagonj area and held a rally there together with 15-20 opposition activists.
Addressing the rally, Rizvi said the current government will not be able to hang onto power this time by holding a lopsided election.
“People won’t let the ruling party and the Election Commission hold any election in the country without a non-partisan neutral government,” he said.
He alleged that the government has been continuing the crackdown on the opposition leaders and workers by arresting them, and their relatives and raiding their houses.
“But the leaders and activists of BNP and the like-minded parties are spontaneously taking to the streets to observe the hartal peacefully”
Rizvi said people will not leave the streets until the fall of the current ‘illegitimate’ government. “
“We believe that the government will soon be forced to resign accepting the demands of the people.”
The leaders and activists of Ganatantra Mancha brought out a procession around 11am at Bijoynagar towards the Jatiya Press Club in support of the hartal. Later, they held a brief rally in front of the Jatiya Press Club.
Speaking at the rally, Saiful Haque, general secretary of the Revolutionary Workers Party, said the government and the Election Commission have become mass enemies by announcing the schedule for holding a unilateral election.
“I would like to tell the government that there is still time for you to quit peacefully…we believe that a democratic environment can be created through talks with the opposition parties on how a neutral polls-time government can be formed,” he said.
Haque said the government must cancel the election schedule announced by the EC to resolve the political crisis politically.
He also demanded the government release the arrested opposition leaders and activists, including BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, and withdraw the false cases filed against them in a bid to create a congenial political atmosphere for talks.
Chief coordinator of Ganosamhati Andolon Junaid Saki said the government is thinking of staying in power by holding another one-sided election with the help of police, BGB and RAB and indulging in repression.
“We would like to clearly say the government is taking the country towards a ditch with its plan to hold a lopsided election,” he said.
Saki said they will intensify their ongoing movement in the days to come to force the Awami League regime to quit and hold the next election under a neutral government.
BNP and other opposition parties, including Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, enforced the 48-hour shutdown at 6am Sunday across the country.
On November 15, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal announced that the 12th parliamentary election of the country will be held on January 7.