Thousands of leaders and followers of the BNP and its associate bodies have turned out for the party’s “divisional rally” in Faridpur on Saturday, overcoming various obstacles and bus strike that began on Friday morning, Report UNB
The rally, organised by Faridpur district unit BNP, formally began at 11am on the Komorpur Abdul Aziz Institution premises, around 6km away from the district town.
The rally venue was almost filled with BNP leaders and activists on Friday night as they gathered there in advance from the adjacent districts, fearing obstacles by ruling party men and police, hassles caused by the bus strike, and a showdown as Faridpur is known as a bastion of the ruling Awami League.
An adequate number of police and other security officials have been deployed around the rally venue and at different points of the town to prevent any untoward incident.
BNP leaders alleged that their activists are being obstructed at different entry points and police check posts and C&B Ghat by law enforcers from joining the rally.
However, BNP activists were seen coming to the rally venue in small processions, chanting anti-government slogans, since early morning.
As the vehicles and auto-rickshaws were not allowed to go towards Komorpur Abdul Aziz Institution from the town, many BNP leaders and workers were forced to walk around 6km to take part in the rally.
The organisers said the rally was meant to denounce the price hike of daily essentials and fuels, the death of five party men in previous police action in Bhola, Narayanganj, Munshiganj and Jashore, and to ensure the freedom of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.
BNP has long been demanding that the next general election be held under a caretaker government, not under any political government — a demand sharply rejected by the ruling Awami League as the constitution does not allow it to happen.
BNP senior leaders, including Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and some standing committee members are expected to address the rally.
BNP activists from five districts — Faridpur, Rajbari, Shariatpur, Madaripur and Gopalganj — have started flocking to the rally venue since Wednesday and many of them have been staying overnight there.
The organisers have arranged food and accommodation for the BNP activists.
Though bus communication remained halted between Faridpur and the rest of the country since Friday morning, the BNP activists were seen coming to Komorpur Abdul Aziz Institution’s premises by train, trucks and small vehicles like human haulers, auto rickshaws, three-wheelers, motorbikes, and micro-buses.
Talking to UNB, BNP Organising Secretary Shama Obaed said their leaders and activists came to Faridpur to join the rally defying various barriers and the challenges due to the bus strike and law enforcers’ obstruction.
Shama said they expected the participation of more than one lakh people in their rally.
Faridpur district bus workers and owners went on a 38-hour strike Friday morning amid BNP’s allegation that it was planned to thwart their rally, causing suffering to commuters.
A similar strike was also enforced ahead of BNP’s divisional rallies in Barishal, Rangpur and Khulna, but thousands of party leaders, activists and supporters participated in the rallies overcoming the obstacles.
As part of the move to continue the pace of its ongoing movement, the BNP on September 27 announced a series of public rallies in 10 divisional cities.
BNP will conclude the divisional rallies through a mass gathering in Dhaka city on December 10.