News Desk: Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) on Wednesday turned down the government’s invitation to join the opening programme of the Padma Bridge because of an earlier alleged threat on the life of its chairperson Khaleda Zia, reports says.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir made the remarks at a press conference at the chairperson’s Gulshan office.
“I would like to say it clearly that no BNP leaders and activists can ever go there at their invitation of those who kill people and want to drown the country’s former prime minister and the most popular leader Khaleda Zia in the Padma River and those who want to drown renowned person Dr Yunus who earned dignity for the country and is acclaimed all over the world,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the government invited BNP to join the opening programme of the Padma Bridge on 25 June.
Dulal Chandra Sutradhar, a deputy secretary of the Bridges Division, went to BNP's Nayapaltan central office around 11am and handed over the invitation cards to party’s senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
Seven BNP leaders party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Mirza Abbas, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Abdul Moin Khan, Nazrul Islam Khan and vice-chairman Hafiz Uddin Ahmed--were invited to participate in the inaugural programme of the much-awaited bridge.
Talking to reporters, Dulal Chandra said he, on behalf of the Bridges Division, came to the BNP office with the invitation cards.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina told a programme last month that Khaleda once said that the Padma Bridge would collapse while using it as it was being constructed with patchworks. “What should now be done to them? They should be taken to the Padma Bridge and pushed into the river from there,” she said.
BNP has long been describing the PM’s remark as a death threat to Khaleda.
Fakhrul also alleged that prime minister Sheikh Hasina spread falsehood through her comment at her press conference that BNP had stopped work on the Padma Bridge construction.
He showed feasibility study report carried out by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on the construction of the bridge at the Mawa-Jazira point during the BNP’s government in 2004.
The BNP leader said their government also had discussions with ADB, the World Bank and JICA on funding for the bridge, but could not complete it for time constraints.
Fakhrul slammed the prime minister for her remarks that BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman became a British citizen abandoning the citizenship of the country, saying it is a ‘blatant’ lie.
“We’ve earlier clearly said that our acting chairman has been there on asylum. There’s nothing to hide. He never applied for British citizenship,” he said.
Fakhrul also said there is no option for Tarique but to take asylum to stay in the UK since the Bangladesh government has long been not renewing his passport. “So, there’s no logic to make such a comment (by PM).
At a press conference earlier in the day, PM Hasina questioned under whose leadership BNP will take part in the next polls.
“Will they show the fugitive (Tarique Rahman) as their leader? He becomes a British citizen abandoning the citizenship of the country,” she said.
The prime minister asked the journalists to find out how a convict got British citizenship.
Fakhrul said their party has not been facing any leadership crisis and Khaleda or Tarique Zia will be the prime minister if their party wins the next national polls. “That election must be held under a non-party neutral government. Otherwise, no election will be allowed to conduct in the country.”
He said the ruling party has been talking about BNP’s leadership crisis only to deceive people. “Our leadership has been fixed and there’s no leadership crisis in BNP.
The BNP leader said it is rather Awami League that is facing a leadership crisis as there is no one after Sheikh Hasina to lead the party.