More than hundred BNP leaders and activists have gathered to enforce a dawn-to-dusk shutdown in Dhaka protesting against alleged massive vote frauds in the city corporation elections.
They gathered in front of the party’s Naya Paltan central office around on Sunday (Feb 2) morning.
The protest started with a rally after which a symbolic electronic voting machine (EVM) was burnt. All the demonstrators left the street and moved towards the main gate of the party office after police arrived.
The party’s Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi along with other leaders and activists were seen taking stand there around 10.30am.
However, no other moves were taken by the party supporters to make the shutdown successful.
Though the party has been observing the shutdown over the allegation of vote rigging in the Dhaka city polls, their nominated candidate from North, Tabith Awal was not present. BNP’s Dhaka South candidate Ishraque Hossain joined the protest around 11.30am.
The councillor aspirants from the party were also not present on the occasion.
While standing in front of the main gate, the party leaders and activists chanted slogans demanding the release of their party chief Khaleda Zia and denouncing the Dhaka city polls result and calling it a “mockery."
Claiming that the party is holding a peaceful protest, the party’s Assistant Organizational Secretary Abdus Salam said, “We have taken stand in support of the shutdown though we are surrounded by police members.”
Though the party leaders are making slogans in front of the party office, public transports were seen plying on the roads normally.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir called for the shutdown on Saturday evening, reviving the shutdown culture in Bangladeshi politics after a nearly five-year gap.
Jatiya Oikyafront extended its support to the BNP program.
Meanwhile, there was hardly any shortage of transportation in the morning since Bangladesh Road Transport Owners' Association had announced their vehicles would continue to operate during the shutdown.
Awami League mayoral candidates were declared elected in Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC).
The voting ran across a total of 2,468 polling centres of the two city corporations from 8am, and continued till 4pm without any break on Saturday (Feb 2).
Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh won the DSCC polls bagging 424,595 votes, defeating BNP’s Ishraque Hossain by 236,512 votes. In DNCC, Atiqul Islam got 447,211 votes, to defeat BNP’s Tabith Awal by 264,161 votes.
BNP last announced a countrywide nonstop blockade on Jan 5, 2015 and it continued until Apr 4, leaving at least 120 people, including policemen dead, mostly in firebomb attacks.