Awami League is determined to prevent BNP from carrying out disruptive programs like blockade, siege, sit-in, and immobilization of Dhaka. Law and order forces, along with Awami League, will resist any such actions. Peaceful meetings by BNP and its allies won’t face major obstacles, but the ruling party will monitor similar counter-programs. Awami League views blockade, siege, and sit-ins as chaos-creating tactics and will strictly suppress them, considering them unrelated to democratic rights and fair elections. However, election preparations or opposition meetings will be regarded as normal programs.
BNP aims to create anarchy and immobilize Dhaka and the government – Abdur Razzak, Presidium Member, Awami League
Thoughts of AL policymakers
According to Awami League’s policymakers, BNP’s Saturday sit-in at the entrance of Dhaka was deemed unsuccessful. There are concerns that if given the chance, BNP might resort to violent actions as seen in 2013, 2014, and 2015, reinforcing Awami League’s interpretation. Additionally, discussions are circulating in administrative and political circles about the control the Awami League government has over law and order forces. Still, these doubts were dispelled after the joint action of law enforcement and Awami League during BNP’s sit-in program on Saturday.
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According to Awami League and government policy-making sources, the US visa policy, the ban on RAB, and Western pressure are the reasons behind the opposition’s decision not to involve law and order forces in their agitation program. Consequently, the police took minimal action during the recent events, and this policy will continue in future general meetings.
Awami League evaluated the opposition’s program, where BNP sought to test the government and Awami League’s strength on Saturday. The response received by BNP was considered appropriate by Awami League. They see two achievements from the police and party leaders-workers’ roles on that day.
Firstly, the US visa policies were believed to have weakened law enforcement, instilling fear.
Initially, Awami League chose not to be present on the field. However, when BNP attempted to incite destruction, Awami League stepped in to confront the situationAwami League Organizing Secretary SM Kamal Hossain
On Saturday, law and order forces acted promptly to neutralize the BNP’s actions. Additionally, the police demonstrated cleverness by handling Gayeshwar Roy tactfully. However, Awami League is now facing inquiries from different sources regarding its decision to organize a counter program on the same day as BNP’s event. The party believes that this move has also proven that BNP can resort to destructive actions when it does not encounter a counter-program.
As stated by Awami League organizing secretary SM Kamal Hossain, Saturday’s events demonstrated what BNP is capable of to create anarchy if Awami League withdraws from Rajpath. Initially, Awami League chose not to be present on the field that day. However, when BNP attempted to incite destruction, Awami League entered the field.
Awami League presidium member and Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzak expressed his concern, stating that BNP’s intention to immobilize Dhaka or the government through creating anarchy is undemocratic. The government cannot allow the loss of life, property, and suffering of the people. Both the government and Awami League will stand firmly against such actions.
Some AL policymakers believe BNP won’t repeat the program in August due to Saturday’s failure. However, they expect BNP to plan another agitation in September
Not a hindrance to normal gatherings
With the elections still around five months away, Awami League is cautious about completely removing BNP from the streets, as it might attract criticism both domestically and internationally.
Policymakers in the ruling party have expressed that the government does not want to appear too eager to hold free and peaceful elections. They are also careful not to be accused of preventing the opposition, including BNP, from participating in the polls. As a result, BNP will be allowed to hold general meetings, but prior approval from law and order forces will be required. However, unauthorized programs will face trouble, as the police may have disagreements about the location and intensify scrutiny for large gatherings.
According to government and Awami League sources, the impact of the US visa policy, the ban on RAB, and Western pressure have not been disregarded. Therefore, there is a strong emphasis on safeguarding law and order forces as much as possible until the elections take place.
Certain Awami League policymakers believe that the lack of significant participation from top-level leaders and activists resulted in the relative lack of success of their position program last Saturday. Consequently, they speculate that BNP may not adopt the same approach in August but could plan for a strike in September.
During this time, Awami League workers are advised to remain strong and conserve energy, while the administration should also strategize and prepare accordingly. In essence, both the government and opposition parties appear to have a momentary opportunity to take a breather.
AL will hold programs daily from now on
Since last December, Awami League has been countering BNP’s programs on the streets. Now, the party has decided to have its own program every day until the next election to prevent any campaigning against BNP. Daily programs will continue even during the National Mourning month of August, extending until the election schedule is announced.
According to Awami League sources, they anticipate BNP may attempt to paralyze Dhaka using various methods beyond their announced program. To counter this, daily activities such as vigils, rallies, protest marches, and peace rallies will be organized. The well-being of leaders and workers will also be taken into consideration to ensure they are not exhausted.
A responsible leader from Metropolitan South Awami League stated that due to BNP’s program on that day, there were strict instructions to maintain vigilance in the neighborhood. Central leaders were also monitoring the situation closely. Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader spent the entire day at the party’s central office, observing how BNP’s sit-in program at the entrance of Dhaka was handled. He revealed his next plan to organize a bigger rally.