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BNP has no public support: AL

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Staff Reporter

The 13-day soft action program of BNP-led 20-party alliance after month-long threat of strong movement by some of its top leaders including BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia was nothing unusual as they ‘do not have any public support’, ruling Awami League leaders say.

“They (BNP and 20-party alliance) realized that their decision regarding the January 5 election was very much wrong… read the pulse of the mass people. That’s why they took such (soft) program,” AL presidium member Kazi Zafrullah told.

He also said that considering the present political and economic situation of the country, BNP and the 20-party alliance took the right decision.

“People don’t want violence and destruction. They want to live in peace. The attitude of BNP is prudent. It’s a good and positive move,” Zafrullah added.

Although top leaders of the BNP-led 20-party alliance had repeatedly threatened to wage a strong movement after Eid-ul-Fitr, the coalition on Tuesday declared a 13-day soft action program, including a rally in the capital, for August 19.

BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir spelled out the programs at a press conference at the BNP's Nayapaltan central office.

The programs of the alliance will start with bringing out black-flag processions across the country on August 16 protesting Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip.

"The 20-party will take out processions with black flags in all divisional cities and district towns on August 16 (Saturday) protesting the continued Israeli attacks on Gaza that claimed over 1,800 lives, including many women and children," Fakhrul told reporters.

Before and during the Ramadan, BNP chairperson in various meetings told that the BNP led 20-party alliance will go for tougher movement after Eid to oust the government and hold fresh national election under a non-party government.

Another AL presidium member Nuh-Ul-Alam Lenin said such soft agitation program by the BNP-led alliance was expected as people will not support anything destructive. “There might be criticisms against Awami Legaue, but do the people want to remove the government right now?”

He also questioned the ability of the BNP-led alliance to forge a movement that will lead to the ouster of the government.

“If there is any kind of violence in their movement, they won’t be able to face the government action thar will come to maintain law and order,” Lenin said.

He, however, mentioned that the BNP-led 20-party alliance have some elements that might go for destructive acts during the movement.

AL joint general secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said the BNP leaders realized that they will not be able to gain public support through destructive politics like that unleashed during the January 5 election.

“I think, BNP realized the reality and announced the realistic agitation program in support of their demands,” he said.

Hanif also said that the government will not obstruct their democratic and lawful programs, but destruction in the name of agitation will be dealt with iron hand.

Food Minister and Dhaka City AL joint secretary Qamrul Islam ridiculed the program announced by the BNP and said that its organizational position is not good enough to lead any strong anti-government program.

“The BNP leaders themselves admitted that they don’t have the strength to lead any strong anti-government movement,” he said.

Qamrul also said that the BNP leaders “know it very well they don’t have the public support in favour of their demands.”