Awami League plans a massive rally in Chattogram as political scene heats up

The party plans to bring in 10,000-20,000 people from each parliamentary seat to respond to the upcoming BNP rally

Mitoon ChowdhuryChattogram
Published : 1 Dec 2022, 06:47 AM
Updated : 1 Dec 2022, 06:47 AM

The Awami League is gearing up to hold a massive rally in Chattogram on Dec 4 with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as the chief guest. The 12th national parliamentary election is scheduled to be held a year after the gathering and so party leaders and activists are viewing it as an election rally.

The ruling party apparently wants to respond to the upcoming BNP rally on Dec 10 by bringing in a large number of people from 15 upazilas in addition to the capital for the gathering.

Local leaders say that they have been instructed by central party leaders to hold a gathering that would surpass all previous attendance records. Several public representatives have also been assigned people quotas to fulfil the attendance goal. A target of bringing in 10,000-20,000 people from each parliamentary seat has been set.

The authorities have already started to book vehicles to transport people from the upazilas to the city on Dec 4. However, due to a shortage of vehicles, those concerned have been instructed to usher in people a day before the rally.

A preparatory meeting has already been held in the presence of Awami League and Jubo League central leaders. The leaders have been instructed to carry out grassroots campaigns.

Meanwhile, banners and posters have been put up along the main thoroughfares of the city. Various publicity campaigns, including a horse carriage rally, announcements over loudspeakers, and distribution of leaflets, are going on in full swing.

The city Awami League conference is scheduled to be held on Dec 18. Afterwards, a Jubo League conference will be held and a committee will be announced.

Leaders at various levels of the Awami League and Jubo League, who are waiting for the announcement of the committee, have chosen the Dec 4 rally to promote themselves. Aspirants looking to retain the party's nomination for the upcoming national election or new hopefuls have set out in full force.

Asked about rally preparations, AJM Nasir Uddin, general secretary of the city Awami League, said, "The leaders and activists in every organisational unit have been informed about the rally in a joint initiative by the city, and the north and south districts. Leaders and activists will arrive from the grassroots level. Besides, work is also underway to bring in locals.”

"All local MPs, upazila chairmen, municipal mayors, vice chairmen, ward councillors and other public representatives are working to make the rally a success. Everyone will lead processions from their respective areas.”

The former mayor said, "During the tenure of the Awami League government, many mega projects have been implemented in the greater Chattogram area, including the port city, and are still ongoing. The masses are reaping the benefits of these projects. So, the issue of development has been brought forward in the campaign.”

“The general election is not far away. The prime minister is the chief guest of the public meeting. I hope her speech will provide guidance regarding the election."

The news of Hasina's participation has created a festive mood among the leaders and activists, said Nasir. "The people of Chattogram are excited about the event. We want to hold the rally in a peaceful, orderly and festive atmosphere."

Talking about the goal of organising the largest and most orderly rally in recent memory, South District Awami League General Secretary Mofizur Rahman said, "A target of gathering 20,000 people from nearby upazilas and 10,000 people from distant upazilas has been set.

"An average of 200-300 buses, minibuses, jeeps, microbuses and other types of vehicles are being hired from each upazila to transport those coming to the meeting."

"The general election may be held by the end of next year. The leaders and activists are excited and are in an election mood. Hopefully, the general people will also join the public meeting.”

A city Awami League leader, on condition of anonymity, said, “Most of the parliamentarians have been in their respective posts for several terms now. So, they have been given fixed targets to gather people. The MPs, the Thana Awami League, wealthy leaders and party sympathisers will pay for people’s transportation, food and other expenses.”

“Due to various provocative statements made by BNP leaders surrounding their Dec 10 rally, more of our party leaders and workers are out in the streets. Hopefully, the gathering on Dec 4 will surpass all past records.”

Meanwhile, along with the main party, affiliated organisations have also been instructed to hold mass gatherings.

Former Chhatra League leader Nurul Azim Roni, who is vying for the post of general secretary in the Jubo League's city committee, said, "The central leaders have instructed the city Jubo League to bring in 100,000 people and the North and South District Jubo League another 100,000. We are working towards that goal.”

“Activists are excited about the meeting. Hopefully the rally will be memorable.”

Abul Hossain Abu, the leader of the Nagar Sramik League, said, "Awami League has always supported the hardworking people and will continue to do so. We will join the rally with 10,000 workers.”

About 100,000 workers from various sectors in the district might join the rally, Abul said.

Meanwhile, Nasir has expressed satisfaction with the preparation and organisation of law enforcement surrounding the rally.

Awami League President Sheikh Hasina participated in the party’s last mass rally in Patia on Mar 21, 2018.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher