Vol. 4 Num 293 Wed. March 24, 2004  
Front Page

Khaleda will be holding her May 1 rally as ex-PM
48-hour hartal likely April 7-8, more to follow, Jalil says

Awami League (AL) General Secretary Abdul Jalil yesterday reaffirmed his party's vow to unseat the government by April 30 through a mass movement including indefinite hartals.

"Khaleda Zia will address her (planned) rally in the city on May 1 not as an incumbent, but as an ex-prime minister," Jalil told newsmen after emerging from a meeting of the Awami League Central Working Committee (ALCWC) held at its Dhanmondi office yesterday to finalise its plan of action for the government's ouster.

He said the main opposition party will soon launch a massive countrywide oust-government movement to make good on its forecast of the government's over throw by the April 30 deadline.

Sources said the meeting in principle decided to enforce a 48-hour countrywide hartal on April 7 and 8 as part of its one-point oust-government programmes.

"You will see more hartals very soon, even indefinite general strikes, until the BNP-Jamaat coalition government quits," he said.

Apart from hartals, the AL will organise train and road marches, "no-confidence" human chains and blockades throughout April, he said. "Besides road marches, we have also planned for a train march through the country under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina."

The AL leader said that apart from simultaneous agitation programmes, "like minded political parties engaged in the agitation" are expected to join an "Independence Procession" the AL is planning to bring out on March 26.

He said his April 30 deadline for the government's ouster is in line with the party's view, adding that all prerequisites for removal of the government now exists and that people are only waiting for a tough movement. "The ALCWC endorsed it (the deadline) earlier and we are now preparing to achieve the goal."

"We will force the alliance government to quit through a people's movement, not by any other means," Jalil said ruling out any undemocratic way for a government change.

He said government MPs' remarks on violence, price hike and corruption by ministers during their recent parliamentary party meeting amounts to endorsement of AL's views and demands.

The ALCWC meeting began at 10:30am with AL President Sheikh Hasina in the chair and was adjourned till 10:00am today.

AL leaders were scheduled to discuss the agitation programmes with the other parties last night in a bid to win their support for simultaneous agitation programmes.

Sources said excepting the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), four other left-leaning parties including Workers Party of Bangladesh, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Inu), Samyabadi Dal and Gano Azadi League have all but agreed to go on simultaneous oust-government movement with the main opposition party.

CPB General Secretary Mujahidul Islam Selim said, "We are very much in a movement against the government. But that does not mean we support Awami League."