Major opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) on Wednesday announced its much-anticipated one-point movement to oust the current Awami League government in a bid to hold the next general election under a neutral caretaker government.
Addressing a mammoth rally in front of the party’s central office in Nayapaltan of the capital, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir made the announcement of the one-point movement as part of their simultaneous agitation with other political parties to realise the demand.
The BNP leader also announced that they will hold a foot march in all metropolitan cities and district towns on July 18 and July 19 respectively to materialise their one-point demand.
In Dhaka city, the road march will be observed from Gabtoli to Jatrabari from 10:00am to 4:00pm on July 18 while it will be held from Abdullahpur to Bahadur Shah Park in Old Dhaka at the same time on July 19.
Apart from BNP, 36 other like-minded political parties also announced the one-point movement to press home their demand to hold the next parliamentary elections under a non-party government. As part of their simultaneous movement, the opposition parties announced to forge a united greater mass movement, Mirza Fakhrul said, vowing to make the one-point demand successful for dissolution of the current parliament, formation of an election-time neutral government, arrangement of free, fair, neutral and inclusive election after reconstituting the current Election Commission, release of all ‘state’ prisoners, including BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, and withdrawal of false and fictitious cases filed against the opposition men, including party’s acting Chairman Tarique Rahman.
“I’m not making the announcement on my own. I'm speaking on behalf of our party’s acting Chairman Tarique Rahman. It's a historic announcement at a historic moment. It's a clarion call,” he said.
The BNP leader also urged other opposition political parties who are yet to join the simultaneous movement but raising voice and carrying out movement against the incumbent government to join their movement to oust the current government.
Mentioning that it is their initial programme, Mirza Fakhrul warned that harsher programmes will come if the government does not concede to their demand. “People know how to materialise their demand. If necessary, we’ll give programmes as per your (party men) desire.”
He claimed that the country’s people have decided that they do not want to see this government in power any more. “We must win in our movement.”
Mentioning that they want an end to the current regime, the BNP secretary general said they will not allow any more election under the current government and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Blaming Justice Khairul Haque for the current political standoff of the country, he said Khairul Haque should be brought to trial for destroying the country’s political stability by scrapping the caretaker government system from the constitution through a verdict ‘unconstitutionally’.
Mirza Fakhrul also called upon the administration and law enforcement agencies to obey their oath of office and play a neutral role.
Dhaka north and south city units of BNP arranged the grand public rally in front of the party’s headquarters that started at 2:00pm and ended around 6:00pm. BNP Dhaka north city unit convener Amanullah Aman chaired the event.
Since morning, the BNP leaders and activists started gathering before the party’s Nayapaltan office with processions carrying banners, festoons, placards and portraits of the party’s top leaders, including its founder Ziaur Rahman, Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman, from different parts of Dhaka and its adjacent districts like Narayanganj, Munshiganj and Manikganj.
Thousands of party leaders and activists joined the rally that spread to Kakrail, Fakirerpool and other areas.
Huge law enforcers were also seen deployed in the area to maintain the law-and-order situation and fend off any untoward incident.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) gave the party permission for the rally on 23 conditions.
BNP leaders, including Mirza Abbas, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Abdul Moyeen Khan, Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, Selima Rahman, Barkatullah Bulu, Shajahan Omor, Shamsuzzaman Dudu, Dr AZM Zahid Hossain, Ahmed Azam Khan, Nitai Roy Chowdhury and Jainal Abedin, also spoke at the rally.
Apart from BNP, 36 other like-minded political parties also announced the one-point movement to press home their demand.
Ganatantra Mancha, an opposition alliance, at a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club in the afternoon shared the BNP's views that the government must resign ahead of the election.
It rolled out a 31-point demand as part of their state reform formula.
Separately, the 12-party alliance came up with a similar announcement from a programme at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU).
Jatiyatabadi Samomona Jote at Bijoynagar, Liberal Democratic Party at Tejgaon and Gono Forum and People’s Party at Motijheel and Labour Party at Nayapaltan announced the same demand.
Besides, Gono Odhikar Parishad factions (one led by Reza Kibria and the other by Nurul Haque Nur), Gonotantrik Bam Oikya, Samomona Gonotantrik Peshajibi Jote and Sadaran Chhatra Odhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad held rallies in front of the Jatiya Press Club in the afternoon and made the announcement of joining the one-point movement of BNP.
Earlier at a public rally in the capital on December 10 last, BNP had announced a 10-point charter of demands, including resignation of the government, dissolution of parliament and the transfer of power to a non-partisan government.
BNP and its like-minded parties observed various programmes, including human chains, sits-in, road marches and rallies, across the country over the last seven months since the announcement of the 10-point movement.