BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia addressing a rally at Suhrawardy Udyan in the city yesterday. -Jahidul Islam
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has once again declared that her party will not take part in the next national polls under the ruling party Awami League led by Sheikh Hasina. She also claimed that a fair election was not possible with Sheikh Hasina in power. She reiterated her demand for a 'neutral government' for the polls.
A free, fair and neutral election is possible under a non-party impartial government. The Awami League government wants to hold an election by force with Hasina clinging to power, Khaleda added. The BNP chief came up with the assertion while addressing a rally at the capital's Suhrawardy Udyan yesterday. The former prime minister urged the Chief Election Commissioner to hold a credible election in the country.
Thousands of BNP men thronged Suhrawardy Udyan from the early morning, but Khaleda Zia claimed that the ruling party leaders and workers had prevented the masses from joining the rally. She called for national unity, noting that to maintain democratic practice such unity was a must, she added. She also put emphasis on a deployment of the army with magistracy powers for holding a free, fair and credible election.
People's right to vote freely must be ensured. And the only way to implement the process is by holding the next general election under a neutral government, she said.
Throwing a challenge to the incumbent government, she said: "Face the electoral challenge under a neutral government." Khaleda Zia opposed the plan of using electronic voting machines or EVMs at the next election.
On the issue of former chief justice Surendra Kumar Sinha's resignation, Khaleda said Justice Sinha was 'made ill' and then 'forcibly sent abroad' on health grounds. "Later, he was forced to resign from his post," she alleged.
About the Rohingya issue she said: "Rohingyas are not citizens of Bangladesh. We've given them shelter on humanitarian grounds. But they can't stay here for a long time." She also urged the international organizations to take immediate steps so that the Rohingyas could return to Myanmar with security and on assurances of their right to citizenship.
"The Rohingya influx is a national crisis. We must get united to find out a suitable solution to it", she further said.
The rally went underway at 2pm, with the BNP chief arriving at the venue at around 3:00pm. She was cheered and welcomed by her party supporters.
Khaleda Zia had previously spoken at Suhrawardy Udyan at a rally organized by the Sramik Dal on May 1 last year.
A good number of law enforcers were deployed to avert any untoward situation at the rally.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Jamiruddin Sircar, Mirza Abbas, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy and Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan, among others, addressed the rally.
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