Sunday, January 8, 2012

No party to join polls sans CG: Khaleda

Road march creates traffic havoc on Dhaka-Chittagong highway. 


BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on Sunday warned the government that no political party will participate in the election if Awami League-led government try to hold it under its supervision.

“The Awami League will make a grave mistake if it tries to hold the elections under its supervision,” Khaleda said while addressing a roadside rally at Noor Manikchar ground in Comilla.

She said the government is playing a game over the formation of a new Election Commission. "The formation of the Election Commission is not our prime issue. Our key demand is restoration of the caretaker government system." 

Earlier, Khaleda urged the countrymen to be united against the government, blaming the government for the crises the countrymen are facing.

“The government is responsible for the crises that the country and its people have been facing. We have united to save the country and its people because the government has been destroying the country,” she said while speaking at her first roadside rally at Muktijoddha College ground in Chandina of Comilla.

She is leading the party’s road march to Chittagong from the capital on Sunday, aiming to drum up public support for reinstating the caretaker government system.

Khaleda, leader of the opposition in the House, set off from her Gulshan residence around 10:20am and it took nearly 30 minutes to reach the BNP headquarters in the capital's Naya Paltan area from where the cross country caravan set out officially.

The road march comes over a month after the third one towards Khulna.

Senior leaders of the four-party alliance and other like minded parties are accompanying the BNP chairperson in the cross country caravan.

Thousands of vehicles are carrying the leaders and workers of the four-party alliances from the capital.

The movement of the convoy led to major traffic chaos from the capital's Motijheel to Kanchpur area in Narayanganj, reports our correspondent who is covering the event.

The office goers suffered most as public transport came to a halt as the motorcade is heading towards the port city.

As the opposition's cross country caravan marching on, supporters along the city streets were seen chanting slogans. They carried placards, banners and portraits of late president Ziaur Rahman, Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman.

A beaming Khaleda Zia responded to the crowds by waving from her jeep.
Security is tight and Rab and police were seen escorting the convoy.

On her way to Chittagong, the BNP chief will also address a rally in Feni, her home district.
Khaleda will address a grand rally at the Polo Ground in the port city on Monday from where the announcement of a series of agitation programme may come.

The leader of the opposition will stay at the Chittagong Circuit House tonight.

Apparently, the road march is going to be an expensive political showdown as over 1,500 arches have already been erected at many points on Dhaka-Chittagong highway and the port city to welcome the leader of the opposition.

BNP insiders said at least Tk 12,000-15,000 was needed for each of the arches.
In the capital, the sources added, the party has rented around 3,000 microbuses for the march. A microbus for two days costs at least Tk 10,000-12,000.

The port city and different parts of the Dhaka-Chittagong highway have been decorated with arches, portraits of party bigwigs, banners, posters and placards to welcome the opposition leader.

The BNP chairperson on September 27 last year declared three road marches towards Sylhet, Rajshahi and Chittagong to drum up support for reinstatement of the caretaker government system.

The Dhaka-Sylhet march was held on October 10 but the one to Chittagong was postponed due to Eid and Hajj. The Rajshahi road march was later redirected to Chapainawabganj.

The BNP chairperson also led another road march towards Khulna on November 26 and 27.

The caretaker government provision was scrapped from the constitution through the 15th amendment last year. As per the existing provision, the present government will hold the next parliamentary election. BNP and allies say they will not let the national election take place without a non-party caretaker government.