The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party on Saturday urged public servants and state institutions to discharge their duties as per the constitution and take a stand with the people since the government was trying to usurp power again by controlling the state apparatus.

‘The Awami League has been in power by force by destroying the entire election system and holding two completely ridiculous consecutive national elections in 2014 and 2018,’ BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said while speaking at a rally of professionals in front of the National Press Club.

Bangladesh Sammilita Peshajibi Parishad arranged the rally, protesting at the ‘prescribed’ verdict of a lower court against acting BNP chairman Tarique Rahman and his wife Zubaida Rahman in a graft case. The BNP leader said the government’s efforts to cling to power would go in vain as the country’s people and all opposition political parties were now united to oust it.

They dream of returning to power by holding the polls in the same way, he said, referring to the Awami League government. He added that when people open the newspaper daily, they see news about transfers of deputy commissioners, superintendents of police, new postings, and the promotions of thousands of people in the administration.

‘They [AL] are doing this as they are thinking of crossing the election hurdle again by regulating the administration as before. This won’t happen again,’ he said.

He said that their party, together with other opposition parties, had been in a movement to restore voting rights and freedom.

‘We urge our brothers who are in administration, in law enforcement agencies, and in the judiciary to discharge your specific in light of the constitution and the specific code of conduct. Do not bow down to pressure. Take the side of people,’ Fakhrul said.

He called upon professionals to get involved with the opposition’s ongoing movement to restore democracy, people’s voting rights, and other lost rights.

‘Shooting has already started. Opposition leaders and activists cannot stay home at night now. Police appeared with warrants for false cases at our people’s houses, he said.

Questioning the judicial system, Fakhrul said bail was not given in fictitious cases.Alleging that torture is also done in prisons, he said that people lived in a barbaric mediaeval age.

Presided by Bangladesh Sammilita Peshajibi Parishad convener AZM Zahid Hossain and moderated by its member secretary Quader Gani Chowdhury, former Dhaka University vice-chancellor Professor AFM Yusuf Haider, BNP education affairs secretary ABM Obaidul Islam, mass education affairs secretary Salim Bhuiyan, health affairs secretary Rafiqul Islam, engineer Riazul Islam, journalist leaders Kamal Uddin Sabuj and Syed Abdal Ahmed spoke at the programme, among others