Demanding army deployment with magisterial power in the 11th parliamentary election, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia said the present government has to ensure free, fair and participatory election under an impartial polls-time government.
“The current Awami League government has snatched away the voting rights from people; they have to give it back to them,” she said while addressing a mass rally at Suhrawardy Udyan, Dhaka on Sunday.
BNP has organised the rally to observe “Revolution and Solidarity Day” on November 7.
The rally began around 2pm on Sunday.
Party leaders and activists have been coming in processions to Suhrawardy Udyan since early Sunday morning to get front-row view of the party chief.
The public transport system in Dhaka faced delays and tailbacks from Shahbagh to Matsya Bhaban in Ramna due to the processions.
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Meanwhile, senior BNP leaders, including the party chief herself, alleged that the government had stopped bus services from different adjacent districts to the capital in a planned way to prevent the gathering at Suhrawardy Udyan.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir alleged: “Since the morning, we have been hearing that the party men have been stopped on various roads. The highways have been closed so our activists fail to join the rally.”
According to a UNB report, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi told reporters at the venue: “The government has stopped mass transport in a planned way so BNP leaders and activists and common people cannot join our rally. They are also obstructing long-distance buses. Even train services to the capital are also being disrupted.”
He further said the government was acting in an undemocratic manner. “Non-democratic behaviour will not be of any benefit,” he warned.
BNP leaders at the rally | Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune
BNP received written permission to hold the rally at Suhrawardy Udyan on Saturday, reported UNB. Fakhrul said the permission was given to the BNP on 23 terms and conditions set by Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP).
Khaleda Zia last addressed a rally at the same venue on January 20, 2014, 15 days after the 10th parliamentary election.
On Sunday, Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said BNP was organising the rally by disrupting the vehicular movement, which resulted in sufferings for Dhaka citizens.
“Those who [BNP activists] occupied the roads for the rally without thinking about public suffering, they will destroy the country if they form the government,” he further said.