18-party rally in city today

The BNP-led 18-party alliance that boycotted the January 5 national election is all set to hold its scheduled mass rally in the city on Monday in an effort to stage a big showdown.As part of their countrywide programme and the first of its kind after the national election, the alliance will hold the rally at Suhrawardy Udyan in the city, apparently to show its strength. BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia will address the rally.On January 15, Khaleda Zia announced the programme from a crowded press conference in the city to formally thank the country’s people for what she said boycotting the January 5 polls. Similar rallies will also be held in all divisional cities, district towns and upazila headquarters.Party sources said BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia asked the leaders and activists of the party and its associate bodies at all levels to take part in the programme. Earlier, on Thursday, BNP formally sought permission from Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) for using loudspeakers at the rally.Contacted, former opposition chief whip and BNP publicity secretary Zainul Abdin Farroque on Sunday told that DMP authorities have give them permission with some conditions for holding the rally.As it will be the first meeting after the election held amid the boycott by BMP, the alliance wants to make it a huge success with the participation of tens of thousands of people. Every unit of the BNP and its alliance partners has been asked to join the rally in separate processions.As part of preparation for the programme, BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has already held meetings with the BNP leaders of Dhaka city and its adjacent districts.Khaleda Zia also directed the party senior leaders to turn the mass rally into a grand rally to reinvigorate the party activists in a bid to launch a vigorous movement for ousting the current regime.BNP vice chairman Abdullah Al Noman said they have taken all-out preparations to make the rally a historic one. From the rally, he said Khaleda Zia will give the alliance leaders and activists the necessary directions to peacefully continue their movement for forcing the current regime to hold a fresh election under a non-party government.The BNP leader hoped that the government will not create any obstacle to their peaceful democratic programme. Apart from the 18-party alliance, leaders of Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh, Krishak Sramik Janata League and self-claimed Jatiya party chairman Kazi Zafar Ahmed are likely to join the programme.