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BNP to rethink blockade, hartal as tactics falter

Staff Reporter:

As people have started defyinghartal and blockade in the capital and elsewhere across the country, a worried BNP and its allies are now mulling over alternative options to make their movement effective.

BNP Standing Committee will sit on 27 November to discuss the issue and finalise their decision about the mode of movement programmes, party sources said.

“It’s difficult to say right now whether there’ll be alternative programmes or not. However, different types of programmes may come in the days to come based on the situation,” BNP Standing Committee member Selima Rahman told the Daily Sun.

She alleged that ruling party men are torching vehicles and exploding crude bombs during their hartal and blockade programmes and the opposition leaders and activists are being arrested after shifting the blame on them.

“The government is now playing different games. Let them play the games. We’ll continue our movement until our demand is realised,” the BNP policymaker added.

BNP and its allies have started their final phase of movement from 29 October while they enforced two phases of nationwide hartal and six phases of blockade till Thursday to realise their demand for resignation of the government to pave the way for the upcoming general election to be held under a neutral caretaker administration.

BNP on Thursday announced their 7th phase of countrywide blockade for 48 hours beginning at 6am on Sunday.

Hartals and blockades spanning almost a month were marked with violence, including torching and ransacking of vehicles, across the country while crude bombs were also exploded by unidentified miscreants at different places.

Although the action programmes were observed in a comparatively strict manner in the first two weeks, people later started defying those with the presence of people and vehicles on the streets seeing an increase gradually.

The vehicular movement was almost normal in different parts of the country, particularly Dhaka city, during the past three spells of blockade.

The opposition activists were hardly seen on the streets to enforce the hartal and blockade. Some brought out sporadic processions but left the streets hurriedly.

Insiders said the absence of picketing on the streets is the main reason behind the ineffectiveness of the action programmes.

Under the situation, top BNP leaders have become worried over the fate of their movement and so they are now planning to bring variations in theirprogrammes to compel the government to meet their demand.

Talking to the Daily Sun, a few central and district-level leaders said the morale of the party men has become weak following failure to realise their demand as well as the breakaway from the party.

They said the party high command is now working to revive the morale of the grassroots leaders and activists and giving strong instructions to remain on the streets to make the programmes a success.

Talking to the Daily Sun, Revolutionary Workers Party of Bangladesh General Secretary Saiful Huq said they are planning to bring variations in the movement programmes.

“Rally and procession programmes may come in the next week. We may also go for a noncooperation movement in the ultimate stage,” he said.

BNP insiders said the party is actually waiting for 30 November, the last day of submission of nomination papersfor the general election before going for different types of movement programmes.

Asked about people defying the hartal and blockade, Saiful Huq claimed that though the programmes are being observed in a little bit low temperament in the capital, these are being observed strictly outside.

BNP leaders claimed that their party men cannot take to the streets due to police action.

Stray violence marks blockade’s 6th phase

The 6th phase of nationwide blockade beginning from Wednesday morning was also marked with stray incidents of violence at different areas of the country.

However, on the second day of blockade, the traffic movement was normal at different areas of the country particularly in the Dhaka city.

Fire service sources said at least seven vehicles were set on fire at different places of the country on Wednesday and Thursday.

A coach of Upaban Express standing in Sylhet Railway Station was caught fire in what police suspect was an arson attack. The incident took place at around 9:00pm on Wednesday, witnesses and fire service sources said.

However, the city life was seen normal as number of vehicles was as usual like normal days in the capital and different other areas of the country during the blockade as people are defying the strike.

During the extended journey, the passenger bus movement was comparatively lower than usual, whereas the movement of trains and water transports remained normal.

Leaders and activists of BNP, its front and associate organisations brought out flash processions at different points of the capital while they left the place instantly after the procession.

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