Monday, January 30, 2012

Rally off, Khaleda seeks return of CG system

BNP chief Khaleda Zia on Monday reiterated her party's stance of not taking part in any national elections under a government led by a political party.

Calling for reinstatement of the caretaker government during her brief address to members and supporters of the opposition platform, Khaleda set off for her first mass procession since the Awami League-led 14-party coalition took office in 2009.

Beginning around 4.15pm from the party's headquarter in Naya Paltan, the procession is set to cover Kakrail, Shantinagar, Malibagh and Mouchak before finishing at Moghbazar.

"There will be no elections without a caretaker government. The BNP will not participate (in polls not held under a caretaker government," Khaleda Zia said.

Khaleda reached the party's Naya Paltan headquarters from her Gulshan office around 3:30pm.

She had earlier declared plans to hold this countrywide public procession on Jan 29. But the programme was postponed for a day after Dhaka metropolitan unit of Awami League also called for a rally the same day and the police imposed Section 144, banning all gatherings in the capital on Sunday apprehending law and order crisis.

The opposition party's processions in other metropolitan cities, including Chittagong, Rajshahi and Barisal, were also postponed after the police there imposed similar restrictions.

Metropolitan BNP member-secretary Abdus Salam said that despite various 'hurdles', the party and members of its associate organisations from all wards in the capital have joined the programme.

The police stopped traffic on one side of Naya Paltan road from around noon on Monday after BNP activists started gathering at the venue.

Within an hour, the stretch between Nightingale Restaurant intersection and Fakirapul's AGB Colony road was filled with activists dressed in bright colours, and carrying festoons and effigies of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman, his wife and party chief Khaleda Zia, and their son and BNP senior vice-president Tarique Rahman.

Members of the four-party opposition coalition and other like-minded parties are also participating in the procession.

Meanwhile, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) has reportedly deployed an additional 5,000 law enforcers in the capital, equipped with water canons and riot cars to tackle any untoward incident sparked by the mass procession.

A large number of police officials have been deployed along the procession route at Naya Paltan, Khilgaon, Matijheel, Bijoy Nagar, Kakrail, Shantinagar, Malibagh, Moghbazar. Additional police members were placed in front of the BNP headquarters since 8:30am on Monday.

Additional deputy police commissioner Mehedi Hasan told that the police have taken all necessary preparations to ensure security.