Jatiya Oikya Front on Sunday took out a colourful rally in the city, marking the 48th Victory Day.
Thousands of leaders and activists of the alliance thronged BNP’s Nayapaltan central office and its adjacent areas in small processions since morning.
Led by their central leaders, they joined the colourful procession carrying the national flag, placards, banners and portraits of party top leaders. It moved towards Shantinagr from Nayapaltan amid tight security.
Although the rally was scheduled to begin at 2:pm, it started around 11:45am following a request of the police.
The rally turned into an ‘election campaign’ as the supporters of different Oikya Front candidates took part in it carrying their posters, banners, portraits and the election symbol ‘Sheaf of Paddy’.
They also shouted slogans in favour of their respective candidates.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir inaugurated the rally in front of the party’s central office.
After parading different roads through Bijoynagar, Kakrail and Shantinagar, the rally concluded peacefully at Nayaplatan around 12:10pm.
Gano Forum executive president Subrata Chowdhury, Nagorik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna, BNP vice chairman AZM Zahid and Chairperson’s adviser Abdus Salam, among others, spoke at the rally.
In a brief speech before starting the rally, Fakhrul said the country’s people are worried about the future of democracy as the government is ‘shamelessly repressing’ the opposition candidates and their supporters across the country.
“The upcoming national election is very important for people as it'll determine whether democracy and freedom of speech will remain in the country or not. It'll also determine whether our chairperson Khaleda Zia will be freed or not,” he said.
Fakhrul said the Election Commission has failed to discharge its duty neutrally to hold a credible election.
“We never witnessed such a national election. They (govt) are unprecedentedly arresting the opposition candidates and its leaders and activists and implicating them in false cases. They’re also trying to keep our candidates away from the election race,” he alleged.
Referring to Saturday’s attack on BNP’s Dhaka-8 seat candidate Mirza Abbas, he said the Election Commission is silent even after such an incident.
Besides, he said, their candidate for Noakhali-1 Mahbubuddin Khokon was shot and injured during an election campaign while most other candidates cannot carry out electioneering due to obstruction and attacks by their opponents.
He urged the government to stop the arrest of their party leaders and activists and create an election atmosphere in the country.
Subrata Chowdhury said the ruling party has continued its repressive acts to retain power by snatching people’s voting right.
He said the government has long been forcing the opposition candidates to quit the election race by creating a suffocating situation using law enforcers.
The Gano Forum leader urged the country’s voters to go to polling stations on December 30 and ensure the victory of the Oikya Front by casting their votes for the ‘Sheaf of Paddy’.
Manna said the government has got crazy as the Jatiya Oikya Front joined the election. “We’ve taken a decision that we won’t give the government any scope to score in an empty field.”