BNP on Sunday announced a two-day programme in protest against the unusual rise in the prices of daily essentials, and demanding the resignation of the Commerce Minister and the Election Commission.
As part of the programmes, the party will arrange human chains at every thana across the country on January 7 pushing the party’s demand for the resignation of the Commerce Minister for his failure to control the market.
Besides, BNP leaders and activists will form human chains in all the metropolitan cities and municipalities all over the country on January 10, demanding the resignation of the Election Commission (EC) for its failure to ensure fair and credible voting.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir announced the programmes at a press conference at BNP Chairperson’s Gulshan office.
He said their party’s standing committee worked out the action programmes at their virtual meeting on Saturday.
“The prices of all the essentials have increased abnormally. The prices of rice, pulses and vegetables have gone up. It’s now going beyond the purchasing capacity of common people. That’s why, we’ll form human chains at the thana levels on January 7 to register our protests against the unusual hike in the prices of the essentials,” the BNP leader said.
He said their party thinks the Commerce Minister should resign shouldering the responsibility for his failure to control the surging prices.
About the municipal polls, Fakhrul said the EC could not ensure proper election atmosphere and fair balloting due to its indifference and biased role.
"This Election Commission has no competence to hold a fair and neutral election by using both the ballot and the EVM. We think this Commission has completely failed to conduct fair elections. All commissioners, including the Chief Election Commissioner, should resign without delay for the sake of credible voting,” he said.
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The BNP leader said their party has decided to form human chains in all the municipalities and the metropolis on January 10 with a demand for the resignation of the Election Commission.
Expressing concern over the rise in commodity prices, Fakhrul said rice prices have long been on the rise. “The rice prices may go up further as its production has declined this season in the country.”
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Referring to media reports on seven lakh fake cards of recipients of rice at Tk 10 per kg, he said the ruling party party-backed unscrupulous people are purchasing per kg of rice at Tk 10 from the government and selling that in the market at Tk 70.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Saturday said Bangladesh is now being labelled as a country of ‘hybrid regime’ as one-party rule has been established undercover of democracy.
“This’s the second day of the new year. We hope that it’ll be a wonderful year for us. We dream of a beautiful Bangladesh this year by coming out of pains and sufferings in our lives caused by Coronavirus,” he said.
Speaking at a discussion, he said, “But the reality is that Bangladesh is now being called as a country of the hybrid regime. Everyone talks about democracy but there’s no democracy here. In fact, one-party governing system has been established undercover of democracy.”
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Chowdhury Kamal Ibne Yousuf Smriti Parishad arranged the programme at the Jatiya Press Club in memory of BNP vice-chairman Kamal Ibne Yusuf who died of coronavirus on December 9 last.
Fakhrul said the nation liberated the country in 1971 with the dream of having a democratic state and society. “But our dream has been shattered repeatedly…even after the 50 years of independence, we can’t say with pride that we live in an independent and democratic country where our rights are ensured. What can be more unfortunate than this?”
He said everything— the government, parliament and bureaucracy -- is there in the county, but people have no right.
The BNP leader said around 300 people were subjected to extrajudicial killings in 2020 by government agencies.
He bemoaned that the entire world, not only Bangladesh, has been going through a tough time due to Coronavirus and the dying condition of democracy. “Authoritarianism and dictatorship are growing such a way that arrogance and negligence towards people have now become part of current politics across the world.”
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Fakhrul said their party has been working and making efforts to come out of this situation by ‘restoring’ multi-party democracy introduced by BNP founder Ziaur Rahman. “But that's not enough.”
He said the government has been carrying out serious ‘repressive acts’ by jailing their party leaders and implicating them in ‘false’ cases. “Over 500 people were made disappeared and more than 1,000 others killed. All these victims are political activists. In the last year, cases under the Digital Security Act were filed against 157 journalists who revealed the truth. So, where’s democracy?”
The BNP leader said their party wants to turn Bangladesh into a democratic country by protecting the country’s independence. “We don’t believe in (foreign) masters. We don’t want to be subservient to anyone. We want to stand in the global arena with our heads high.”
He urged all to get united to establish a government of people and ‘restore’ democracy and their rights by defeating the current ‘monstrous and fascist’ regime through a strong struggle.
Also read: BNP to wage movement if energy bill passed
Fakhrul recalled Chowdhury Kamal Ibne Yousuf’s contributions to the country and BNP as a genuine politician.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Friday hoped that the country will get rid of both coronavirus and ‘autocracy’ in the New Year , 2021.
“We greet all on the occasion of the English New Year. We hope Bangladesh will be freed from both coronavirus and autocracy in 2021,” he said.
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The BNP leader came up with the remarks while talking to reporters after placing wreaths at BNP founder Ziaur Rahman’s grave, together with leaders and activists of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, marking the organisation’s 42nd founding anniversary.
He said they took a fresh vow on the first day of the New Year to completely free Khaleda Zia from jail and ‘restore’ democracy in the country.
Also Read- BNP vows to restore democracy: Fakhrul
The BNP leader urged the political parties to forge a greater unity to ensure the fall of the current government through a mass upsurge.
He said their party has repeatedly been saying that the current ‘fascist and autocratic regime’ must be defeated through a greater unity of people, and political parties and a mass uprising.
"We are working towards that goal and we believe we will succeed in 2021," Fakhrul said.
Asked why BNP is not getting success in its anti-government movement, he said the ruling party has been suppressing people’s justified movement for the ‘restoration of democracy’ by resorting to repressive acts.
“Awami League is a fascist political party. They‘ve usurped power using the state machinery on the night of December 29 by indulging in vote robbery and depriving people of their right to vote,” he alleged.
Fakhrul said history suggests that the justified demands of people can never be suppressed through repression. “No one could do it in Bangladesh in the past. We believe that we’ll be able to gather new energy in the New Year to defeat the fascist government.”
Also Read- People to change govt in New Year: BNP
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Wednesday hoped that people will get united in the coming year, 2021, to bring a change in the government.
"This year is set to end. Let’s all have the same resolve for unity in the next year,” he said while speaking at a demonstration programme.
The BNP leader said, “We’ll establish a true government of people through a credible election by removing the current monstrous, autocratic and dictatorial government. Let’s unite to achieve that goal.”
As part of the party’s countrywide programme, Dhaka south and north city units of BNP arranged the programme in front of the Jatiya Press Club marking the second anniversary of the 11th parliamentary election day.
BNP’s all city and district units also observed the similar programme demanding a fresh national election cancelling the results of December-30, 2018 polls.
Fakhrul called upon all political parties and the people of all walks of life to get united to ‘restore’ democracy in the country. “The struggle to protect democracy is not only a matter of BNP. All the political parties and people must be united to oust the current regime.”
The BNP secretary general also demanded the release of party chairperson Khaleda Zia and the withdrawal of ‘false’ cases against their party’s 35 lakh leaders and activists.
He alleged that law enforcers obstructed their party activists on their way to Press Club for joining the demonstration programme.
"We're very saddened and ashamed fo seeing our leaders and workers being obstructed from joining this programme. A huge number of law enforcers have been deployed around this rally. I also get ashamed when I hear the Prime Minister saying the country is doing very well because they have established democracy,” Fakhrul observed.
He said December 30 is the most scandalous day in the political history of Bangladesh as the state power was grabbed for ‘restoring’ one-party rule by holding a ‘controlled’ election ‘using’ the state machinery ‘annihilating’ democracy, the main spirit of the Liberation War. “This’s a day of shame and disgrace for us.”
The BNP leader alleged that the Awami League has destroyed all the achievements of Bangladesh and its electoral system and economy by ‘usurping’ the state power. “They’ve turned Bangladesh into a kingdom of plundering.”
He also criticised the current Election Commission saying it lies all day long. “People laugh when they hear the Commission says very beautiful and wonderful elections are held. People now can't go to polling stations.”
Fakhrul said the Election Commission has been arranging votes using EVMs by which the results can be manipulated.
He also slammed the government for what he said its failure to tackle the coronavirus situation.
Candidates of the ruling Awami League (AL) are leading in the first phase municipality election held Monday at 24 municipalities across Bangladesh.
The municipalities are – Panchagarh, Pirganj in Thakurgaon, Phulbari in Diinajpur, Badarganj in Rangpur, Kurigram, Puthia and Katakhali in Rajshahi, Shahzadpur in Sirajganj, Chatmohor in Pabna, Khoksha in Kushtia, Chuadanga, Chalna in Khulna, Betagi in Barguna, Kuakata in Patuakhali, Ujirpur and Bakerganj in Barishal, Gafargaon in Mymensingh, Madan in Netrakona, Manikganj, Dhamrai in Dhaka, Dirai in Sunamganj, Borolekha in Moulvibazar, Sayestaganj in Habiganj and Sitakunda in Chattogram.
Voting began at 8am and continued until 4pm without any break.
Results from some of the municipalities came in at night, showing AL candidates doing better than their rivals.
In Sitakunda, Freedom Fighter and AL nominee Bodiul Alam was elected to the mayor’s office for a second consecutive time.
He bagged 10,829 votes while his nearest rival from BNP, Freedom Fighter Abul Monsur, got 3,072 votes.
Ballots were cast using electronic voting machines (EVM).
Meanwhile, Anowar Bhuiyan was elected councillor of ward-1, Badiul Alam Jashim ward-2, Shamsul Azad ward-3, Haradhan Chowdhury Babu ward-4, Shafiul Alam Murad ward-5, Didarul Alam ward-6, Fazle Elahi ward-7, Mofizur Rahman ward-8, Julfiqar Ali ward-9.
Apart from them, Shamima Akter has been elected member of wards 1, 2 and 3; while Kamrun Nahar won in wards 4, 5 and 6; and Masuda Akter in wards 7, 8 and 9.
Independent mayoral candidate Jahirul Islam boycotted the polls alleging irregularities and citing untoward incidents.
In Kushtia’s Khoksha, AL’s Tarikul Islam has been elected mayor for a second consecutive time.
According to unofficial results, he has received 9,327 votes and his nearest rival, BNP’s Nafiz Ahmed, got 1,583 votes.
Nafiz raised allegations of irregularities shortly after announcement of unofficial results.
In Manikganj, AL’s Ramjan Ali has won beating his only rival, BNP’s Ataur Rahman, by 29,251 votes.
Abul Kalam Azad has been elected councillor of ward-1, Nurul Islam ward-2, Taslim Hridoy ward-3, Arshed Ali Biswas ward-4, Abdur Razzak ward-5, Shayekh Shibli ward-6, Md Kabir Hossain ward-7, Abu Md Nahid ward-8, and Ujjal Hossain ward-9.
In the reserved seat for women, Najma Akter won from wards 1, 2 and 3; Rajia Sultana wards 4, 5 and 6; and Jesmin Akter wards 7, 8 and 9.
In Dhamrai, AL candidate Golam Kabir is leading the mayoral race with 23,110 votes. His nearest rival, BNP’s Najim Uddin Monju got only 1,503 votes. The results will be announced on Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, in Shayestaganj, BNP leader MF Ahmed Oli won the mayoral race with 4,041 votes. AL’s Masud Uzzaman Masuk got 3,141 votes.
Oli had won the mayoral polls twice in 2004 and 2011.
In Thakurgaon, renegade AL candidate Freedom Fighter Md Ekramul Haq won the mayoral election bagging 9,133 votes. His nearest rival, AL candidate former mayor Kashirul Alam got 2,790 votes while BNP’s Rejaul Karim got 2,714 votes.