Senior Joint Secretary General of BNP Ruhul Kabir Rizvi sits down in an exclusive interview with the Dhaka Tribune’s Kamrul Hasan to discuss BNP’s views on Khaleda Zia’s conviction, the upcoming election and the country’s election time crisis
Almost two months have passed since the verdict in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case was declared. But the BNP chairperson is yet to get bail. She has been shown arrested in other cases as well. Do you think BNP is lacking in their preparations surrounding the chairperson’s cases?
No, I do not think so. The senior leaders of the party are very much aware of the fact. We are continuing our best to free the chairperson, but the government has intentionally obstructed our programs, arrested our leaders, and even tortured a student leader to death to stop Khaleda Zia from getting out of prison.
The government has taken control over everything. They have arranged every procedure to serve their interests. It is difficult to get justice when the government has even forced the chief justice to resign at gunpoint.
However, we will not stop. We still respect the judicial system, and we are fighting for Khaleda Zia’s release in the court. At the same time, we will continue protesting on the streets.
You have been denied the permission to organize rallies in the capital several times. Your party’s recent peaceful movements have been praised in this regard. Considering the root level leaders’ pressure to go for tougher actions, what will BNP’s next course of action be?
We will continue our protests no matter what the government imposes on us. We might be tortured, arrested and deprived of practicing our political rights, but our protests for releasing the chairperson will not cease till she is released.
If the government accepts our demands and releases her, everything will be fine. Otherwise, our protests will become stricter day by day.
Political analysts are saying that if BNP continued their protests centering public issues such as price hike, recurring question leaks, and others, then it would have been easier for them to continue demonstrations. Why is BNP not going for protests on public issues?
BNP has always been a party working for the betterment of the mass people. It has always protested against the government regarding decisions that caused the general public to suffer.
The party disseminated leaflets and called hartals before 2014. But thinking about public inconvenience, BNP later stopped calling hartals.
However, our chairperson is the main voice of BNP. The government has convicted her forcefully in a false case, so now our strongest voice cannot talk for the people anymore.
If the court stays the conviction against Khaleda Zia, or if she gets bail just before the election, what will BNP do?
Our leader Khaleda Zia has become the mother of democracy in the country. She has raised her voice in the past for the establishment of democracy. So, any conspiracy to conduct an election without her will never succeed. Her followers will never allow for an election without her to happen in this country.
What would you say about the rumours surrounding the breaking down of the 20 party alliance?
It was the government who spread such rumours. As a party, BNP and its alliances will not be broken. We will remain united.
What about the dissolution of the parliament?
Listen, these are issues regarding the upcoming election. Before our chairperson is released, BNP is not willing to think about the election at all. Only after her release is ensured will the issues like dissolution of the parliament, fair ground for election campaign and procedures for holding a fair election be taken into
All of our current activities are centered around Khaleda Zia’s release. Nothing else comes first. BNP will think about the election only after the chairperson is released.