Thousands of leaders and activists of BNP have started gathering in front of the party’s Nayapaltan central office since Friday morning to attend their grand rally.
Defying senior leaders’ instructions, several thousand activists thronged Dhaka’s Nayapaltan area on Thursday night and stayed there overnight.
Visiting the rally venue around 10:30 am on Friday, the UNB correspondent saw thousands of party leaders and followers from different parts of the city arriving in processions.
Carrying banners, festoons, placards and portraits of the party’s top leaders, they were shouting anti-government slogans.
Roads and alleys stretching from Bijoynagar to Nayapaltan were crowded with BNP activists, halting traffic in the area.
Many leaders and activists of the party alleged that they had to face checking by law enforcement agencies at the entry points of the capital.
The party has already set up a big stage on nine trucks, rolled out red carpets, and installed loudspeakers.
Two separate stages have also been erected for the cultural activists and journalists.
Artistes from the BNP's cultural body are performing patriotic songs to keep the crowds invigorated under the scorching sun and they will continue till 12 pm.
BNP’s Dhaka south and north city units are organizing the rally to press home the opposition’s one-point demand for holding the upcoming national election under a non-party government.
The rally is scheduled to formally begin at 2 pm after Juma prayers.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir will address the programme as the chief guest and announce their next course of action to mount pressure on the current government to accept their one-point demand.
Apart from BNP, 37 like-minded political parties and alliances are also going to arrange separate rallies in different city areas to press home the one-point demand that includes the resignation of the Awami League government and holding the next election under a neutral government.
Besides, three associate bodies of the ruling Awami League—Jubo League, Swechchasebak League and Chhatra League—are also scheduled to hold a rally in front of the south gate of Baitul Mukarram mosque which is 1.7 km away from the BNP’s rally at Nayapaltan.
The rallies of the ruling and opposition parties were scheduled to be held on Thursday, but they rescheduled their programmes for Friday as Dhaka Metropolitan Police authorities did not allow them to use their chosen venues on a workday for the sake of avoiding public suffering.
Political analysts think it will be a daunting task for the law enforcers to maintain peace and fend off any untoward incident as both the opposition and the ruling parties will hold their programmes at short distances and at the same time.
All eyes are on the BNP rally as there are speculations that the party may announce non-stop action programmes to force the Awami League government to step down.
On Thursday, Dhaka Metropolitan Police gave BNP and Awami League’s three associate bodies permission to hold their rallies at Nayapaltan and Baitul Mukarram respectively on 23 conditions.
The police authorities asked BNP to limit their rally from Kakrail’s Nightingale crossing to Rajarbagh Police Hospital, while the AL associate bodies have to restrict their rally from Mahanagar Natya Mancha to Muktangan.