BNP senior leaders on Wednesday warned the government that their party together with people will not allow anyone to hold the 11th parliamentary polls without the release of their chairperson Khaleda Zia from jail.
Speaking at a two-hour token-hunger strike, they also voiced their strong resolve to free Khaleda from jail through a strong movement.
BNP arranged the programme from 10am to 12pm on the premises of Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh, demanding its Chairperson Khaleda Zia's release from jail and her proper treatment.
“The country’s people and different political parties have now reached a consensus that the next election must be fair and participatory one. Our foreign friends are also saying the polls must be inclusive one,” said BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain.
He further said, “We would like to say the election won’t be participatory one without the participation of BNP and Khaleda Zia. We won’t allow holding any such polls. We’ll join the election after freeing our leader.”
The BNP leader alleged that the government has kept Khaleda Zia in jail by convicting her ‘unfairly in a false’ case. “We demand her unconditional release. Democracy won’t be restored without her release. So, we must free her through a movement.”
He criticised the government for not taking steps for ensuring proper treatment of Khaleda. “It’s the government’s responsibility to provide her with treatment since she is in jail. But it’s not taking any step in this regard.”
Mosharraf also alleged that the government is conspiring to hold another January 5-like election to hang onto power. “We would like to say we won’t allow holding any such voter-less election.”
He renewed their party’s demand for resignation of the government before the announcement of the election schedule, reconstitution of the Election Commission and deployment of army to hold the next polls in a fair and credible manner.
Another BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed said it is now not possible to free Khaleda free from jail through a legal battle. “Taking to the streets is the only way to ensure her release. We’re on a movement and we’ll intensify it to ensure the government’s fall.”
He warned that their party will come up with strong action programmes to unseat the government at a right time.
The BNP leader called upon BNP leaders and activists to get necessary preparations to make their movement a success.
Several thousand BNP leaders and activists holding banners, festoons and placards joined the token hunger-strike programme and chanting slogans to have their chairperson freed from jail.
A large number of law enforcers were deployed near the venue to maintain law and order.
The BNP men broke their hunger strike by taking water provided by ex-Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University Prof Emajuddin Ahmed around 12pm.
Besides, the similar programme was held in most district towns and metropolitan cities across the country.
Earlier, on Monday, BNP formed human chains across the country, including in front the Jatiya Press Club in the capital, to press the same demand.
BNP Chairperson Khaleda has been in jail since a special court convicted her in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on February 8.