December 10 BNP convention in Suhrawardy Udyan or Nayapaltan?
The government is allowing the BNP to hold a mass meeting at Sohrawardy Udyan in the capital on December 10. But Nayapaltan is BNP’s ‘choice’ for the Mahasambesh. The party leaders are adamant about holding the rally in front of the central office. Meanwhile, BNP has also sent a letter to the Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP).
Meanwhile, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said in an event at Sadarghat on Thursday evening, ‘BNP has the right to do politics. Conditionally, BNP will be allowed to hold a rally at Suhrawardy Udyan on December 10. No untoward incident can occur. Obstruction and public suffering cannot be done.’
In immediate response to the Home Minister’s statement, BNP Chairperson’s advisor and Dhaka Metropolitan North BNP convener Aman Ullah Aman said, ‘I have sought permission for the mass meeting in Nayapaltan. A rally has been held in Nayapaltan before this. I want to have a peaceful mass meeting there again this time. We are still hopeful that we will get permission for the assembly in Nayapaltan itself.’
Party’s central publicity secretary and media cell member secretary Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie said that BNP did not seek permission for the rally at Suhrawardy Udyan. Only in front of the party’s central office in Nayapaltan, permission has been sought.
After a program at Sadarghat yesterday evening, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said, ‘BNP will systematically do constructive politics. There is nothing stopping us here. If they break the rules, we have objections. We have been saying that all the time. We have never accepted them, they are holding meetings all over the country.’
He said, ‘We did not accept the rally in Dhaka either. We have only expressed their fears. You will bring 25-30 million people, where will these people be placed? Where will they live? You will paralyze the entire Dhaka. We told them, go somewhere bigger. One of the latest demands of BNP was Suhrawardy Udyan. The DMP Commissioner has been told to inform on our behalf, so is the directive of the Prime Minister. They will be informed that they can hold this meeting in Suhrawardy Udyan.’
Meanwhile, at an event in Chittagong yesterday, BNP Standing Committee member Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury said, ‘BNP’s Dhaka rally will be held in Nayapaltan. There is no opportunity to interrupt.’ Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, a member of the party’s standing committee, said, ‘I have sought permission to hold a rally in Nayapaltan. Even if you give permission, I will gather there, even if you don’t give me permission, I will gather there.’
On November 15, the leaders of the party met DMP Commissioner Khandaker Golam Farooq for permission to hold a rally in front of the BNP’s central office in Nayapaltan. At that time, the BNP leaders did not immediately say anything when the administration asked about some other alternative venues. But as an alternative, the senior leaders of the party planned for three more seats. In that context, they also visited Manik Mia Avenue, Suhrawardy Udyan and Arambagh Mor. However, the administration did not give a list of these alternative venues. Now the BNP leaders are showing a firm stand in their statement regarding Nayapaltan.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir clarified the party’s position regarding the venue of the rally in a press conference held at the Gulshan office last Monday and said that the divisional rally in Dhaka on December 10 will be held at the announced venue and on the specified date. The next day, on Tuesday, in a rally in Nayapaltan, he mentioned the same issue and said that the mass meeting will be held in Nayapaltan on December 10. This is a public declaration. A peaceful assembly will be held on that day. The program will be announced from that gathering.
The tension around December 10 started on October 8. That day, in a discussion meeting in Segunbagicha of the capital, Dhaka Metropolitan North BNP convener Amanullah Aman said, ‘After December 10, the country will run on the words of Khaleda Zia and Tariq Rahman.’ A day after that, the party’s central propaganda secretary Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie said, ‘Tareek Rahman will come to the country soon.’ After their statements came to the media, the government party leaders and activists gave a counter warning. On December 10, leaders and activists of Awami League and other organizations will keep vigil on the streets.