October 30, 2023
DHAKA – The way the events unfolded on Saturday has given the Awami League rank and file a confidence boost, claim leaders of the ruling party.
They said the kind of momentum BNP tried to gather with its grand rally did not come to pass, and it has “hurt the morale of the party activists”.
The violence that took place that day was mostly between BNP and the police, leaving the opposition party pitted against law enforcers, said several AL leaders contacted by The Daily Star yesterday.
They said the pressure that the AL has been facing from the West for the last couple of months may now ease a little after Saturday’s events.
AFM Bahauddin Nasim, AL joint general secretary, said, “By beating a cop to death, attacking journalists, torching police box and ambulances and throwing brickbats at the chief justice’s residence, BNP itself has exposed its true nature, which is of a terrorist organisation.”
Visa policy should now take immediate effect on them, he added, citing the the US embassy statement that read it will be “reviewing all violent incidents for possible visa restrictions”.
The AL leaders also said the violence has left a dent in the image the BNP has been trying to project over the last few years — that it believes in peaceful demonstrations.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader alleged that the BNP-Jamaat alliance once again indulged in “brutal activities” to disrupt the country’s democratic process.
“Though BNP talked about a democratic movement, in secret it was preparing to implement its terrorist-style politics. It was just biding its time to get back to its old ways, its terrible politics,” Quader said at the party president’s Dhanmondi office.
AL leaders are also of the opinion that the scale of the violence shows that BNP didn’t have control over its own people.
They said they believe the opposition doesn’t stand a chance against them and it’s apparent especially after the way BNP central leaders left the dias soon after police action,
The AL leaders admitted there was some unease within the ruling party about the final phase in the BNP’s oust-government agitation, but Saturday’s events made it clear that toppling the government with street demonstrations will be nearly impossible.
Talking to reporters at his office at the Secretariat yesterday, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal hinted that law enforcers will go tough on BNP following Saturday’s clashes.
He said BNP has showed their original character by “killing and beating policemen, journalists and innocent people and they must be brought to book”.
The AL, meantime, will remain on the streets with various programmes till the 12th national polls slated for early January. It will not concede an inch to the BNP, said party sources.
The party will hold peace rally in every district, upazila and thana apart from its programmes in the capital to counter the three-day “countrywide blockade” that BNP will enforce on October 31, November 1 and 2.
On those three days, the ruling party men will take position at every unit office across the country to resist BNP if the latter resorts to violence centering on its blockade programme.