November 15, 2023
DHAKA – The BNP activists will take to the streets once the Election Commission unveils the polls schedule, party insiders said.
It is likely to announce a siege to the Election Commission Secretariat along with the blockade that is on, they added.
The party is also considering replying to the letter from US Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu about talks on the upcoming Jatiya Sangsad polls.
The insiders said if the election schedule is declared keeping thousands of BNP leaders and activists behind bars, the atmosphere would not be conducive to holding any talks.
“Stop the drama in the name of polls schedule. Otherwise, the blockade will continue until the government steps down,” Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, senior joint secretary general of the BNP, said yesterday.
The Election Commission is likely to roll out the polls schedule today when the BNP’s 48-hour nationwide blockade starts. This is the fifth round of blockade being enforced by the opposition party since October 30, demanding resignation of the government and a general election under a non-party neutral administration.
Meanwhile, the Awami League has decided to take out processions across the country welcoming the election schedule.
BNP sources said its top brass has met the leaders from different levels to discuss the movement strategy and decided that the party rank and file will take to the streets soon after the announcement of the polls schedule.
They also discussed laying siege to the EC secretariat a day after the announcement of the schedule.
Top leaders of the BNP’s front and associate bodies have been instructed to observe the ongoing blockade strictly and to come out of hideouts.
“Even if the top leaders of the front and associate bodies are at risk of being arrested, they must be on the streets,” said a senior leader wishing not to be named.
He said the party’s movement may see some changes soon after the declaration of the polls schedule.
“People will take to the streets soon after the announcement of the election schedule like the way they are responding to our movement now,” Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku, standing committee member of the BNP, told The Daily Star.
Discussing Lu’s letter among themselves, BNP leaders observed that it would put pressure on the AL regarding talks, but the government seemed to be heading in the wrong direction as the initiative for declaring the polls schedule was made.
Lu, the US assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, has written to the AL, the BNP, and Jatiya Party, urging them to engage in talks without any conditions to unlock the political stalemate, JP Chairman GM Quader said on Monday after a meeting with US Ambassador Peter Haas.
AL sources, however, said the party was yet to receive any letter of Lu.
In a press statement yesterday, Islami Andolon Bangladesh warned that the party would march towards the EC Secretariat if the polls schedule was announced today.
The party leaders and activists will gather at the north gate of the Baitul Mukarram national mosque at 3:00pm and will march towards the EC from there, it added.