Greater nat`l unity must: Govt asked to step down before polls


Staff Reporter :
The BNP on Saturday called to forge a greater national unity to oust the government, restore democracy and save sovereignty of the country.
The party leaders came up with the calls from a massive gathering of the party's rally in the capital marking its 40th founding anniversary.
Thousands of leaders and activists of the party gathered the rally in front of the party's Nayapaltan central office in the capital.
The party also placed a four-point demand to pave the way to its participation in next general elections, including unconditional release of its Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia and dissolving Parliament.
Leaders and activists of BNP and its front and associate organizations from different parts of the capital and adjacent districts started to surging in front of the meeting venue at Nayapaltan from around noon.
The road stretch between Kakrail and Fakirerpul filled up within 2:00pm.
The leaders and activists came to the venue with procession wearing caps of different colours, holding banners, festoons, placards and band parties.
They chanted slogans naming late president Ziaur Rahman, founder of BNP,  the party's jailed chairperson Khaleda Zia and anti-government slogans.
Senior BNP leaders asked the party men to take preparation for a tough agitation to free Begum Khaleda Zia form jail and compel the government to step down and form a neutral government for holding next polls.
"No election will be held keeping Begum Khaleda Zia in jail. The government's attempt to keep Khaleda Zia in jail during the election will not be acceptable to the people," BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said the rally  while presiding over the rally.
Mirza Fakhrul said the Prime Minister will have to resign before the announcement of the schedule for the next general election in October.
He also asked all pro-democratic quarters to forge a greater national unity to restore people's right to franchise their voting power as well democracy.
"There are responsibilities to all pro-democratic quarters to forge a greater national unity. Every one should stand strongly to free the country from the grip of undemocratic ruler and return the snatched rights of the people to their hands. Every democratic parties should come forward in these regards," the BNP Secretary General said.  
Among the party's four-point demand to participate in the national polls, the party also asked to release all imprisoned leaders of BNP, dissolve the Parliament and the government, and form a neutral polls' time government before announcing schedule of the next national polls.
Besides, it also demanded reconstitution of the Election Commission and deployment of Army during the polls.
The BNP leader termed the present government autocratic and undemocratic.
He said, "There is no disunity among us (the party men). Come forward to form a greater national unity to oust this autocratic and undemocratic regime to restore democracy."
Mirza Fakhrul said the government is hatching a new conspiracy to include the party's Acting Chairman Tarique Rahman in the charge sheet of the 21 August grenade attack case.
"The Home Minister said Tarique Rahman will be convicted in the verdict of the case. Have they written the verdict earlier? It is the common question among the people now," he said.
Standing Committee member Dr. Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain addressed the rally as the Chief Guest.
Dr. Mosharraf Hossain asked the party leaders and activists to take preparation for a massive agitation, which will be started soon to topple the present government, release party chief Begum Khaleda Zia and hold next polls under neutral government.
Standing Committee member Barrister Moudud Ahmed said, "It may not possible to free party chief from jail in legal process. He asked the party men to stage massive movement to free Khaleda Zia.
Senior leaders of the party also equivocally demanded resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda to hold the next national polls inclusive and acceptable.
They also opposed the EC's plan to include EVM system in next polls.
Standing Committee Member Mirza Abbas said the next general election will have to be held under a non-party neutral administration for restoration of democracy in the country.
The party's Standing Committee Member Goyeshwar Chandra Roy also said similarly.
BNP Standing Committee Members Jamiruddin Sircar, Abdul Moin Khan and Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, Vice-Chairman Ruhul Alam Chowdhury, Altaf Hossain Chowdhury, Zainul Abdin, Selima Rahman, Shamsuzzaman Dudu, Chairperson's Advisor Aman Ullah Aman, Abdus Salam, Habibur Rahman Habib, Taymur Alam Khandakar, Farhad Halim Donner, Senior Joint Secretary-General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, Joint Secretaries-General Barrister Mahbub Uddin Khokan, Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal and Khairul Kabir Khokan, among others, also spoke at the rally. The party men gathered the rally with placards, banners and festoons with various slogans amid heavy police presence with water cannons, prison vans and armored vehicles.