The senior BNP leader made the remarks while briefing reporters at his home in Tantipara, Thakurgaon, on Tuesday morning
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has said that the recent debate surrounding sculptures is not an issue for the party. It is rather the “lack of democracy in Bangladesh” which is the subject matter of the party’s movements.
The senior BNP leader made the remarks while briefing reporters at his home in Tantipara, Thakurgaon, on Tuesday morning.
Thakurgaon Municipality Mayor Mirza Faisal Amin, the younger brother of Fakhrul, BNP nominated candidate for the upcoming municipality polls Shariful Islam Sharif and local leaders and activists of the party and its various affiliated organizations were present during the briefing.
“I don’t want to talk about sculpture [controversy]. This is not an issue for me. The issue for us now is democracy, our rights and establishing our constitutional rights. We can’t cast votes now, can't speak up and write. These are our issues,” he said.
He alleged the government had snatched people’s freedom of speech and gagged the media to hang on to power.
The BNP leader said the Prothom Alo editor had been indicted in a murder case while many other journalists and photojournalists had been implicated in different cases to control the media so that they do not expose the “misrule” of the government.
Trashing the ruling party’s allegation that the BNP has had a hand in creating chaos over the sculpture issue, he said the Awami League had been engaging in double standards over its relations with alem-ulema.
“The Awami League strengthened its relations with radical parties before the last election, and signed an agreement allowing them to issue edicts (fatwas),” he observed.
“But the BNP believes in democracy, not fundamentalism. the Awami League is fully responsible for the recent rise of fundamentalism in Bangladesh,” Fakhrul added.
Expressing his anger and displeasure over the closure of state-owned sugar mills, he said that these factories would not need to be shut down if the government had given some subsidy from the money collected through corruption and so allowed the farmers to survive.
“It is possible to save these mills and factories by modernizing them,” he added.
The BNP leader said foreigners were not coming up with investment in Bangladesh since there was no “democratic government” in the country and there was a lack of an investment-friendly atmosphere.
Speaking about the upcoming municipality elections, he said: "Despite whatever is happening in the country under the Awami League and the Election Commission we are still participating in the polls, as the BNP is a political party that believes in democracy and change of power through elections.”
Fakhrul said: “The fact that Awami League leaders – whenever they can – bring up the BNP’s name in everything, blaming the party for all their disabilities, proves that the BNP stands strong in the country, and will remain so.”
The BNP secretary general, after the briefing, left for his ancestral home in Mirzapur, Panchagarh.