BNP announces another 48-hour transport blockade from Wednesday

The party continues its campaign to oust the ruling party with demands to install a caretaker government for the election

Published : 4 Dec 2023, 10:45 AM
Updated : 4 Dec 2023, 10:45 AM

The BNP has announced that it will enforce another 48-hour nationwide transport blockade from Wednesday.

BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi made the announcement via a virtual meeting on Monday, after the filing of nomination papers for the upcoming general election was completed last week.

The party also called for human chain demonstrations on Dec 10, World Human Rights Day, in all districts nationwide.

“The election commission has become semi-robots of Sheikh Hasina. The switch of these robots is in her hands,” said Rizvi during Monday’s virtual conference.

“The EC is talking about free and fair elections for all. But I’ve heard that the ‘powerful’ men who are switching parties have been offered Tk 20 million to join the ruling party,” he added.

The programme will feature family members of missing people, arrestees in “invalid cases” and those who faced human rights violations.

The BNP has been staging a series of political programmes after a rally in Dhaka on Oct 28 broke out in violence. The opposition called a hartal the following day. Many of the party’s leaders were arrested following clashes with the police and the rest went into hiding.

Rizvi has been announcing the party’s subsequent programmes by virtual meeting since then. So far, the party has organised transport blockades on 18 days and hartals on four others.

Monday’s announcement marked the BNP’s 10th round of blockades since Oct 28.

The intensity of these programmes has slowly diminished over time. Few party leaders and activists can be seen on the streets. Though party leaders have called on activists to demonstrate their bravery, there has been little overt action.

With the effect of blockade and hartal programmes waning, the streets of Dhaka are witnessing more traffic, with logjams occurring in different parts of the capital as well.

However, the BNP aims to continue protesting to demand the resignation of the government and the installation of a caretaker government even as the Election Commission prepares to hold the election on Jan 7.

Seeking parliamentary seats, people have submitted around 2,750 nomination papers and election authorities are currently screening them.

After this, nominees will be able to appeal against returning officials’ decisions from Dec 5-Dec 15 before the deadline for withdrawing nominations on Dec 17.

As many as 29 parties, including the BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami, are boycotting the election. The BNP expelled 18 leaders for participating in the election.