Dhaka, May 19: The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Friday said that time was up for the Awami League government, no matter how many countries prime minister Sheikh Hasina had visited and what she had said.
Speaking at a rally in the capital, he called upon law enforcers to play a neutral role as the country’s people and the democratic world want credible national elections in Bangladesh under a caretaker government.
As part of the party’s countrywide programme, BNP’s Dhaka North City unit arranged the rally at Shyamoli Club Field in the capital to press home their 10-point demand, including holding the next polls under a non-party neutral government.
The party also organised rallies in 27 other cities and districts to register the party’s protest against the filing of ‘fictitious’ cases against opposition leaders and activists, soaring prices of essentials, frequent power cuts and the ‘all-pervasive’ corruption by the Awami League government.
Fakhrul observed that people were suffering due to power, gas, and water crises though the government had been repeatedly hiking the tariffs of the utility services.
He said that people were struggling to survive as the prices of all the daily necessities, including rice, edible oil, eggs, salt, sugar, onion, garlic and ginger increased two to threefold.
‘But the ministers and the ruling party leaders, who live in air-conditioned rooms in luxury, say everything is fine and the people of Bangladesh are in very good condition. The ruling party leaders often mock people by saying that they are better off than those in Singapore,’ the BNP leader said.
He also said that prime minister Sheikh Hasina and her party leaders could not understand the pulse of people as they got isolated from them.
‘Stand before people without state protocol to read their eye and body language,’ he said.
He alleged that the government had destroyed every sector of the country.
‘They steal Tk 78,000 crore every year only from the power sector through quick rental…they also destroyed the education system. There is no academic atmosphere anywhere, including in colleges, schools, and universities. The Chhatra League cadres have occupied every educational institution. People with third-class degrees are becoming university teachers,’ he said.
The BNP leader also said the government had ruined the health sector by indulging in widespread corruption and plunder.
He said that the government was now using the ‘false and ghost’ cases against opposition leaders and activists as the last resort to clinging to power at the fag-end of its rule.
Fakhrul said their party leaders and activists had been subjected to repression, imprisonment, and killing as they had been on a movement to restore democracy and people’s rights.
‘Our 17 brothers have sacrificed their lives in the current movement. We heard that police opened fire on our leaders and activists in Khulna today [Friday]. It won’t be possible to stop this movement of people by firing,’ he said.
BNP will also arrange rallies in Dhaka South City, 21 organisational districts and other metropolitan cities on Saturday.