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Bangladesh's main Opposition BNP defers its nationwide strike

Dhaka: Bangladesh’s main Opposition BNP on Sunday deferred its nationwide strike scheduled for Monday which was called to mount pressure on the Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League government to quit power and hold the next month’s general elections under a non-partisan administration.

Bangladesh is headed to general elections on January 7.

The strike would now take place on Tuesday, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said during a virtual press briefing.

The BNP deferred the protest as Bangladesh declared a day of state mourning on Monday following the death of Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah, Dhaka Tribune newspaper reported, quoting the BNP leader.

The BNP, led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia, had announced the nationwide strike on Saturday to press their demands for the current government’s resignation and the restoration of a caretaker government, the paper said.

The BNP earlier announced that it would boycott the elections.

The opposition parties have so far observed blockades in the 11th phase to mount pressure on the Awami League government to quit power and hold the next election under a non-partisan administration, the paper said.

With political activity heating up, the Bangladesh Army has said it will deploy troops to maintain law and order as the country gears up for the general elections.

With the BNP boycotting the election, and no other credible opposition party against it, Hasina’s Awami League is likely to gain an upper hand and likely to form the government for the fourth consecutive term.

The BNP had boycotted the 2014 election but took part in 2018 polls.

The US and other major Western countries called for dialogue between the ruling Awami League and particularly with the BNP to ensure an inclusive and credible election, which, however, saw no headway due to reluctance from both sides.

(Published 17 December 2023, 11:01 IST)

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