“Why Do You Run Away?”
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina took a dig at BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia when she said, “You have stolen money from the orphans. The money came in the name of the orphans. Now you do not appear in the court. You appear once and then fail to do so 10 times. Why are you running away?” She then concluded, “It speaks of a guilty mind indeed.” Hasina said it while addressing a crowd at Suhrawardy Udyan on January 10 on the occasion of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Homecoming Day. She also added that the people would never accept it if one has to learn about politics and democracy from Khaleda Zia.
“Dhaka’s Name to Be Changed”
BNP vice chairman Shamsuzzaman Dudu said that the name of Dhaka City would be changed to Zia City. He also said that at the same time Gopalganj’s name would be changed to Mujibnagar. He was speaking at a discussion session on January 11 held by an organization called Democratic Movement when he mentioned that the Zianagar upazila in Pirojpur has been renamed as Indurkani. Dudu then asked if Indurkani was a more celebrated person than Ziaur Rahman. He then asked the government why it was not changing the name of Gopalganj to Mujibnagar. He added that if BNP comes to power it would make that change because Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is a more respectable person than Gopal.
Fight to the Last Drop of Blood
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has said that his party (activists and leaders) would fight to the last drop of their blood for the restoration of democracy. On January 14, Fakhrul was speaking at a discussion session in the capital when he also said, “One thing I can tell you clearly that we are committed and we shall fight to the last drop of our blood to restore democracy and implement the ideals of Ziaur Rahman.” He then added that a party has to take to the streets to launch a movement and their party has done it many times and it would do that again.
“You are Involved in Extortion and Tender Business”
President of Chittagong City Awami League, ABM Mohiuddin Chowdhury, severely criticized the Chhatra League leaders and workers before saying that 5,000 sticks have been made to prevent militancy and terrorism and nobody would be allowed to do either in Chittagong. He then asked them if they would forcibly occupy lands of others should they be given those sticks. He told them that they are involved in extortion and tender business and one of them was hanged while a tender business went wrong. Chowdhury was addressing a public meeting in Chittagong on January 10, which was organized to celebrate Bangabandhu’s Homecoming Day, when he reminded them that those activities did not suit a reputed organization like Chhatra League.
An Extension of “Fakhruddin- Moinuddin” Regime
BNP’s standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain claimed that Awami League in its work is towing the line of military-controlled caretaker government. He said that this government is merely an extension or continuation of the illegal “Fakhruddin-Moinuddin” regime. Mosharraf said that the One-Eleven had failed to accomplish what it came to do. While addressing a meeting at National Press Club on January 10, he asked, “So what has happened today? International conspirators put the Awami League in power, which in turn killed democracy and locked it up inside a box. Today you see that people of this country have lost their right to vote.”
An Army Chief Who Failed to Become a Politician
Jatiya Party chairman Hussain Muhammad Ershad has lamented that he was an army chief who could never become politician because politics is a very slippery road. He also lamented that trade and commerce have come to a standstill and investment is basically zero, and the banks are sitting on piles of money, but nobody wants to invest and the young people are going astray due to dearth of employment. Ershad made his comments while inaugurating the SA Tower in the capital on January 7. He further resented, “On February 1, 1988 it was me who had laid the foundation stone of the Jamuna Bridge. In my time I built 10,000 kilometers of paved road, 508 bridges and created 460 upazilas to take progress to the villages. But nowhere shall you find my name. Everywhere they have tried to erase my name.”
Holding Rallies on Holidays
Dhaka North City Corporation mayor Sayeed Khokon has urged political parties and their associate bodies to hold their meetings and rallies on public holidays to avoid making traffic congestions. He said it while opening public titles at the Panthakunja Park in the capital on January 9. The mayor also added that it has been seen many times that political parties occupy the streets to hold meetings and rallies that cause a great deal of sufferings to the city dwellers by creating terrible traffic congestions. Examinees, patients and common people fail to reach their destinations on time due to these congestions, he added.
More Leaders than Workers in the Party
General secretary of Awami League and minister of roads and bridges, Obaidul Quader, said that leaders and workers have to follow the party discipline. He insisted that anybody who would like to stay in this party would have to obey the rules, and those who would not obey them would have to leave the party. He said right now the party has more leaders than workers, but the party needs more workers than leaders. Quader added that disciplined workers are Awami League’s greatest assets. He made his remarks on January 14 while laying the foundation stone of Raniganj Bridge over river Kushiara in Jagannathpur upazila.
“We Shall No Longer Care for Police Permission”
BNP’s senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi vowed to hold a rally anyway possible after failing to get permission from the police for one despite repeated requests. He said, “We shall not wait for the permission of an autocrat, and the rally shall be held at Suhrawardy Udyan without waiting for the police permission.” BNP could not get police approval to hold its rally on January 7 to observe the “Murder of Democracy Day.” Rizvi asked at a human chain held in front of National Press Club on January 10 that if Ershad’s party of razakars could get permission to hold its rally at Suhrawardy Udyan, then why a party of sector commanders like BNP should not get that permission.
Rizvi’s Press Conferences
Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury, founder of Gonoshasthaya Kendra, has advised BNP’s joint secretary general to desist from frequently appearing before the press. The BNP-sympathizer Dr. Chowdhury was speaking at a meeting on January 14 when he complained that Rizvi issues statements every day, and releases them without consulting anybody. He urged Rizvi not to issue press notes anymore. He said Rizvi reminds him of former military ruler Ershad, who, during his rule, appeared on television daily.