The BNP has decided to reschedule 32 rallies of its in different districts due to a sharp rise in the Covid infection rate in the country.
“We earlier said the restriction (on public rallies in open spaces) imposed by the government is illogical and ineffective. Even then, we have decided to reschedule our rallies for the public interest,” said BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan.
Speaking at a press conference at the BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office, he urged central leaders of the party and its associate bodies in all metropolitan cities and districts to continue their preparations to hold the rallies on the rescheduled dates.
The fresh dates for the rallies will be announced later.
Amid a spike in Covid cases possibly due to the Omicron variant of Covid-19, the government imposed various restrictions, including limits on public gatherings, social programs, political and religious events. The restrictions came into effect on Thursday.
Nazrul said the government’s decision to impose restrictions on public rallies and gatherings in open spaces while allowing the local body elections to continue and markets, shops and educational institutions to stay open was illogical.
He said experts are saying the risk of the transmission of Omicron is less in open spaces than in closed ones. “But the government has been allowing public gatherings in closed spaces instead of in open ones. The main purpose of the restrictions is to obstruct our programs of the ongoing movement, as the government has failed to thwart those by imposing Section 144.”
BNP standing committee member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy said the government’s 11-point restriction to contain Covid transmission is contradictory considering the ongoing elections to the Narayanganj City Corporation and other local bodies.
"The government has so far not requested the Election Commission to suspend the local body polls considering the overall situation. So, there is no doubt that the ban on public rallies is politically motivated."
On January 5, the party announced rallies in 40 districts from January 8 in an attempt to force the government to allow BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to go abroad for advanced medical treatment.
As per the schedule, the party was supposed to hold rallies on January 8, 12, 15, 17, 22, and 24 to mount pressure on the government.
The party formally inaugurated the string of programs through a rally in Brahmanbaria on January 8.
On January 12, BNP arranged 7 more rallies in 12 districts.
Previously, the party held rallies in 23 districts from December 22-30 to press home the same demand.
Khaleda Zia, a 76-year-old former prime minister, has been receiving treatment at Evercare Hospital for various health complications since November 13.
Members of her medical board said Khaleda immediately needs to go abroad for better treatment as she was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis.