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AL focuses on large gatherings, staying alert on the streets

by tbhdesk

Ruling Awami League has been preparing to gather as many as people possible in Dhaka on Thursday. At the same time, the party will keep its leaders and activists alert in all the areas of the capital city. The main organisation, its various associate bodies and the MPs have been given the responsibility in this regard.

Jubo League, Swechchhasebak League and Bangladesh Chhatra League will jointly organise the programme, named “Victory March of Youth”, at the south gate of National Baitul Mukarram Mosque on Thursday. However, directives have been issued to leaders and activists of neighbouring distircts of AL and its front organisations to enhance the gathering. The party policymakers target presence of 200,000 party men in the rally.

A joint meeting with the presidents and secretaries of Awami League’s associated bodies, and the Dhaka city south, north and district units was held at the party’s central office on Bangabandhu Avenue in the capital on Tuesday to make the rally a success. Party general secretary Obaidul Quader gave some directions regarding the opposition party’s ongoing one-point movement and the ruling party’s rally on Thursday.

Obaidul Quader, also road transport and bridges minister, gave the opening speech at the joint meeting in presence of media. He said, “We are receiving news that they (BNP) are purchasing arms in the border areas and Chapainawabganj is one of the supply bases of their arms. They are storing arms there. BNP think that people’s power is not the power; the power of arms is the real power. People don’t trust those who come to power with arms.”

Following the opening speech, there was a closed door meeting. A source from the meeting said the party general secretary gave two messages. First, they have to gather as many as leaders and activists is possible; and, second, there has to be preparations so that they could mobilise a huge number of leaders and activists to take to the streets at a short notice from now to the next parliamentary election.

According to sources, Jubo League, Swechchhashebok League, and Chhatra League are expected to play the key role in ensuring the success of Thursday’s rally. Leaders and activists of AL and its affiliated fronts from outside Dhaka will attend the rally, while its Dhaka south and north units have been instructed to remain vigilant in their neighborhoods.

If the BNP men create any disturbances, the nearby ruling party men will respond promptly and handle the situation.

In the meetings, some alleged that the party lawmakers do not play the expected role in gathering the people in the rallies. In response, Obaidul Quader instructed the lawmakers to remain active in the coming days.

The BNP, under the banner of its associate bodies, held a youth rally in the capital’s Suhrawardy Udyan on Saturday and announced a grand rally for Thursday. Meanwhile, the Awami Jubo League declared to hold a youth rally, called ‘Tarunner Joyjatra’, at Bangabandhu avenue on the same day, posing a fear of political confrontation in the city.

The ruling party’s youth wing initially fixed Monday for the youth rally, but later deferred it to Thursday, soon after announcement of the BNP’s grand rally.

According to sources, the AL men have been instructed not to engage in conflict with BNP preemptively. But they have to disperse the BNP men if the latter attempt to hold a sit-in, or besiege any crucial areas. The ruling party men will play a supportive role for the police.

Quader, in his opening speech in the meeting, told the party men that there is no scope to remain inactive from now on. All have to remain vigilant to foil any anti-regime activities.

“We will not initiate any conflict. We will take a cautious stance on the streets and prevent those who propagate a conflict,” he said.

As part of the simultaneous movement, the allied parties of BNP will also be on the streets with different types of programmes on Thursday. Islami Andolan Bangladesh, led by Charmonai Pir, is scheduled to hold a rally at the north gate of Baitul Mukarram national mosque, adding more to the ruling party’s worries.

The ruling party is also seeing the Charmonai Pir’s programme as an extra concern. According to responsible sources, the rally venue of Islami Andolan is very close to the ruling party gathering and the time of both rallies is also the same, 2:00 pm.

The authorities decided to keep law and order forces on maximum alert and to gear up CCTV monitoring as well as dog squad searches in the adjoining areas of the rally venues.

Some AL leaders said there is intelligence information in favour of Quader’s allegation over the purchase of arms by the BNP. There might be an arms recovery operation before the Thursday rally, in addition to check posts at the entry points of the capital city.

Source: Daily Prothom Alo.

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