The ruling Awami League is adopting a two-pronged strategy to put pressure on the BNP until the 11th parliamentary elections: keeping BNP leaders under pressure of cases and arrest, and confront the BNP activists in the field.
Some Awami league leaders at the policy-making level said until the election, the government will follow the principle of “zero tolerance” on BNP.
According to these sources, the ruling party wants to create fear among BNP leaders by adopting these strategies. The more BNP’s politics becomes like a movement, more of its leaders will be arrested and charges pressed against them. Also, many of the old cases against BNP leaders will be reopened, new cases will increase and crackdown against BNP leaders will continue.
The sources further said that the government is concerned about the situation getting worse due to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s upcoming verdict on a corruption case. However, the government will try to make sure that the BNP do not resort to a movement before the election. The government wants to revive old cases to keep BNP leaders under pressure.
Some policy-makers in the Awami League and a minister, seeking anonymity have said that the BNP won’t be allowed to take to the streets to voice its demands before the election. Also, the BNP won’t be allowed to launch an anti-government movement after the verdict of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia corruption case is announced.
Meanwhile, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir alleged during a press conference on Monday that the arrest of BNP leaders increased a lot recently.
“In the last few days, arrest of BNP leaders and workers has increased a lot. Whenever our party’s chairperson went to the court, the police arrested our activists who are being accused in various cases later on. Even the president of Bangladesh Supreme Court Bar Association, secretary and former cabinet secretary Abdul Halim has been sued. We are not seeing any signs of a free and fair election under the circumstances,” he said.
Regarding the allegations, Home Minister Asaduzzaman said: “The accusations by Mirza Fakhrul are not true. As far as I know, police arrested those BNP leaders since they had cases for vandalizing buses against them.”
Two Awami League presidium members and a member of the editorial team, seeking anonymity said that the government wants to keep the overall situation under control until the elections.
“We will not allow anyone to wage any movement with wrongful demands. The BNP is plotting to put the government in an embarrassing situation and resort to violence on the street again,” one leader said.
Awami League presidium member and health minister Mohammad Nasim has said that the government will follow the principle of zero tolerance to counter destructive activities of any party in the name of a political movement.
“We are ready to take any decision to ensure safety of people’s lives, property and maintain stability in the country,” he said.
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune