Jatiya Oikya Front leader Dr Kamal Hossain has vowed “to fight” for ensuring a free, fair and credible national election as he hits the campaign trail on Wednesday, when he travelled to the northeastern city of Sylhet.
“The people will not have the ownership of the country if a free election is not held. And there’s no freedom if the people do not own the country. A credible election aims for freedom,” he said.
Dr Kamal Hossain yesterday formally kicked off Jatiya Oikyafront’s campaign in Sylhet where he called upon the people to take back the ownership of the country by voting for the opposition alliance.
The eminent jurist also urged voters to throng polling centres to vote as soon as they open and remain vigilant till voting ends.
“Ensure a win for the Oikyafront and take back the ownership of the country,” said Kamal.
He made the call while talking to reporters after offering prayers at the shrine of Hazrat Shahjalal (R), a 14the century Sufi who came to Sylhet to spread Islam in 1303.
For decades, political parties have launched their election campaigns from his shrine.
Led by Dr Kamal, an Oikyafront delegation comprising BNP Standing Committee Members Nazrul Islam Khan and Goyeshwar Chandra Roy, Krishak Sramik Janata League President Kader Siddique and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal President ASM Abdur Rob reached Sylhet by air around 4:15pm.
Kamal, also president of Gonoforum, alleged that law enforcers were arresting their leaders every day and insisted that there was no sign that the election would be free and fair.
Even so, the alliance will remain in the race till the last moment, he said.
“We will force the government to hold a free and fair election,” he said, adding that the opposition alliance was getting a “tremendous response” from the people across the country.
Kamal, one of the main framers of the country’s constitution, said the government would not be able to materialise its “evil design” if people remained united.
“We have seen throughout the history that people have been able to realise their demands when united,” he said.
Kamal was scheduled to deliver a speech at a rally at Dakkhin Surma at 6:00pm.
But he did not attend the rally as he had an 8:00pm flight for Dhaka, said Ali Ahmed, Sylhet coordinator of the Oikyafront.
Earlier, hundreds of supporters of Oikyafront, mostly BNP men, started gathering at the shrine since morning.
Oikyafront leaders were scheduled to hold a rally on the premises of the shrine but law enforcers did not allow them to do so, saying the alliance of the BNP and several other parties did not take permission for any such programmes.
Around 12:00pm, a police team led by Kotwali Police Station Officer-in-Charge Selim Miah reached the spot and took away the microphone and other stage materials.
He also said the Oikyafront was given permission to hold the rally at Sylhet Registrar Office field, not in front of the shrine.
Rezaul Hasan Koyes Ludhi, vice-president of Sylhet city BNP, said they could not seek permission from the police as the decision to hold the rally at the shrine was made late on Tuesday night.
Ali Ahmed said they had originally planned to hold a rally at the Registrar’s office field at Bandarbazar and took permission for it.
But later the programme was cancelled due to a lack of time for preparation, said Ali, also the general secretary of Sylhet district BNP.