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BNP works on strategies to restart movement

Khaleda may lead road marches

Rashed Ahmed Mitul

Bangladesh Nationalist Party which led non-stop agitations to resist the one-sided parliamentary election of January 5 is now contemplating ‘mass contact’ through road marches to restart its movement to force the new government to hold the polls afresh, the party sources said.
BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia would lead the road marches in different parts of the country if the programme is finalised, the sources said.
The party would take a ‘tough course’ like hartals if their planned ‘non-violent’ programmes are obstructed by the government, according to a standing committee member of BNP.
The fresh movement would be launched to press for resignation of the incumbent government, holding of fresh elections cancelling the 10th parliamentary polls and release of the leaders and activists of the opposition.
The party is also planning to revamp the organisation evaluating the successes and failures of the leaders during the recent movement.
Programmes like ‘march for memocracy’ may again be taken up to press the government to realise the opposition’s demands, the party sources said.
As part of the planned mass contact programme, Khaleda Zia might lead road marches from this month to encourage the grassroots leaders and activists, a BNP standing committee member told New Age.
During the mass contact, the BNP chairperson would again seek people’s active support for her movement by convincing them that fair election is not possible under the AL government which was proved during the January 5 unilateral election marked by stuffing of ballot boxes, the standing committee member said.
Khaleda would also congratulate people for ‘refraining from going to polling stations on January 5 in response to her call’, he said.
After the road marches, Khaleda may address a public meeting in the capital to announce the next course of action to mount pressure on the government to accept the opposition’s demands, a BNP policymaker said, adding that she may issue an ‘ultimatum’ to the government from the planned rally.
Mustafizur Rahman Iran, chairman of Labour Party, a partner of the alliance, told New Age that programmes
like ‘march for democracy’ might come as the next course of action this month.
BNP standing committee member Mahbubur Rahman told New Age that they should chalk up ‘non-violent’ programmes to show the government that people remained with the opposition.
BNP and its front and associate organisations would be overhauled taking into account the failures of the leadership in the capital city during the final phase of the recent movement to foil the election, according to party insiders.
A standing committee member said not only Dhaka city unit BNP, but its front and associate organisations and the national level leaders of the party who stay in the capital failed to perform during the last couple of months of the movement marked by general strikes and blockades when district and grassroots leaders and activists took control of the rest of the country.
He agreed that it was difficult to take to the street in the capital in the face of deployment of law enforcers in their large numbers, but it is true that Dhaka city BNP leaders failed to carry forward the movement.
The senior leader of BNP said changes might take place in the leadership of the party and its different wings, including student, youth, women and workers fronts.
Courageous and capable leaders might be brought into leadership at different levels of the party and its front and associate organisations evaluating their performances, he said.
The BNP-led 18-party alliance which boycotted the 10th parliamentary election failed to resist the polls after enforcing a series of countrywide non-stop road-rail-waterways blockade since November 26, a day after the announcement of the election schedule.
On January 11, the alliance finally postponed the blockade for an indefinite period until further notice.
The blockades which were finally enforced from January 1 for an indefinite period for cancellation of the 10th parliamentary election was postponed considering that it had started to lose its force as people had become fed up with the protracted blockades and hartals, the party sources said. 

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