Road, Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Tuesday stated that Covid-19 vaccine has been procured for the interest of general people of the country.
“Vaccine was not purchased for the benefit of any vested group,” he insisted at a regular briefing at his official residence in the morning.
He also urged BNP leaders to abstain from spreading confusion over a sensitive issue like vaccines, and said “The allegations of business interests regarding vaccine procurement are baseless and unnecessary.”
The general secretary of the ruling Awami League said “It is unfair to create undue suspicion among the people and tarnish a good deed unnecessarily.”
Quader called on the BNP to make constructive criticism as a political party and said that “The people will not accept their (BNP’s) lies like previous times.”
The minister also urged the people of the country to boycott the people who are spreading the propaganda and false confusion about the vaccine.
Meanwhile, the first consignment containing five million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine purchased by Bangladesh from licensed manufacturers Serum Institute of India under the brand name Covishield reached Dhaka on Monday.
Also read: Stop sheltering criminals: Quader
Last week, Bangladesh received two million doses of the same vaccine as a gift from India.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to launch a pilot coronavirus vaccination drive at Kurmitola General Hospital in the capital on January 27.
She will inaugurate the vaccination programme virtually, said Abdul Mannan, Secretary of Health Service Division of the Health Ministry, on Saturday.
The primary vaccine campaign will begin by vaccinating a nurse at the hospital, he said.
According to the government, Bangladesh’s Covid-19 fatalities rose to 8,055 on Tuesday as the health authorities recorded 14 more coronavirus-related deaths in 24 hours till morning.
A total of 515 new cases were identified pushing up the national tally to 532,916, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said in a handout.
Also read: You better resign: Quader to BNP leadership
Expressing doubt about the fair voting in the elections to Chattogram City Corporation on Wednesday, BNP on Tuesday alleged its leaders and activists have been arrested and harassed in the port city in connection with the polls.
“BNP’s 69 leaders and activists have been arrested in Chattogram over the election. Why have they been arrested? A case has been filed against our 1,000 leaders and activists there. But no one of Awami League was arrested and no case has been filed against them,” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
Speaking at a doa mahfil, he criticised the Election Commission (EC) for its failure to create a proper election atmosphere in Chattogram.
“Selling out his soul, the Chief Election Commissioner is now licking Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s feet. Don't you be ashamed of yourself? You say you’re a bureaucrat and a former DC. But such a great slave cannot be found anywhere else,” the BNP leader said.
Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal’s Dhaka east city unit arranged the programme at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, marking the sixth death anniversary of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s younger son Arafat Rahman Koko.
Rizvi said though Election Commissioner Mahbub Talukder expressed concern over the Chattogram city polls, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) remained silent about it. “As the CEC is getting the blessings of the Prime Minister, he is not bothered at all about the unfair and repressive acts centring the election and voting.”
The BNP leader said the Election Commission does not need fair voting and election as the CEC only requires money allocation for plundering in the name of training some people and buying EVMs.
Rizvi said noted intellectuals made an appeal to the President to remove corrupt CEC KM Nurul Huda as he destroyed democracy and buried fair election. “But he (Huda) does not want to quit. Awami government also doesn’t want to remove him as it thinks such a great servant and slave will never be found again.”
He said there is no alternative to a movement to oust the current government and ensure a fair national election in the country under the neutral election commission and administration.
BNP on Monday alleged that the government has been obstructing the political programmes of the opposition parties out of fear of losing power since it has lost ground beneath its feet.
“As there’s no law and order in the country, every peaceful programme of the opposition parties, including BNP, is being obstructed by the ruling party cadres and law enforcement agencies,” said BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
In a statement, he said, “In fact, they (govt) get scared whenever they see any programme of the opposition due to the unknown fear of losing power as they’ve lost ground under their feet.”
Fakhrul also accused the government of letting loose the law enforcers and ruling party ‘cadres’ for repressing the BNP leaders and activists and suppressing their opinions. “It seems that the right to do politics in the country is only for Awami League, not for others.”
The statement was issued protesting the obstruction to BNP’s two workers’ meetings at Sreepur in Gazipur.
It said two separate stages set up for holding the workers’ meeting of Sreepur Upazila and Sreepur Municipality units of BNP were ransacked by the ‘cadres’ of Jubo League and Chhatra League on Sunday night.
As the party wanted to hold the meetings in two other venues, police obstructed them and foiled the events.
Fakhrul voiced concern over the deterioration of law and order in the country. “A horrific form of tyranny of ruthless misrule has engulfed the entire country.”
“I strongly condemn and protest the demolition of two stages in BNP’s Sreepur Upazila and Sreepur Municipal units by the terrorists of Juba League and Chhatra League.”
The BNP leader called upon all, irrespective of party and opinion, to be united to get rid of the ‘awful misrule’ of Awami League.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Sunday alleged that their party Chairperson Khaleda Zia's younger son Arafat Rahman Koko was killed ‘through torture’ by the interim regime of Fakhruddin-Moyeenuddin after the 1/11 political changeover in 2007.
“It’s our bad luck that a very talented sports organiser Arafat Rahman Koko fell sick as he was brutally and shamelessly tortured by the Fakhruddin-Moyeenuddin government. He later died while undergoing treatment in Malaysia,” he said.
The BNP leader said, “We think he was killed. Arafat Rahman Koko had to die due to repression.”
He made the remarks while talking to reporters after paying homage to Koko along with party leaders and activists by placing a wreath at his grave, marking his sixth death anniversary.
Fakhrul said Koko was not a politician as he had no involvement in politics. “He was a sports organiser. Arafat Rahman Koko made himself memorable through his various activities in the sports arena within a short time.”
On his death anniversary, the BNP secretary general said they offered fateha at Koko’s grave and prayed for the salvation of his departed soul.
Also read: Koko’s 6th death anniversary Sunday
On January 24, 2015, Koko died of a cardiac arrest at the age of 45 at a rented house in Malaysia.
His body was brought back home on January 27 and buried at Banani Graveyard.
BNP and its associate bodies chalked out various programmes to mark the day.
As part of the programmes, BNP leaders and activists, led by Mirza Fakhrul, placed wreaths at Koko’s grave at Banani Graveyard in the capital and offered fathea there.
BNP arranged a milad mahfil at its Nayapaltan central office, marking the day.
Also read: BNP pays tributes to Koko on his birthday
Besides, cooked foods were distributed at different madrasas and orphanages in the city.
A discussion on the life and work of Koko will be arranged at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU) on Tuesday.
Different associate and professional bodies of BNP and its city and district units are also observing the day through various programmes, including discussions and prayer sessions, across the country.
Bangladesh Awami League's mayoral candidate for the upcoming Chattogram City Corporation(CCC) election Rezaul Karim Chowdhury on Saturday announced his election manifesto, where solving the Port City's waterlogging and traffic problems got most attention.
Rezaul Karim announced his 37-point manifesto at the Bangabandhu Hall of Chattogram Press Club.
In the manifesto, city's healthcare sector also took importance because of Covid-19 crisis. All service sectors including revenue will be under 'One Stop' digital server. Also mentioned that ongoing master plan-development projects will be coordinated with priority in the first one hundred days.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury said in his manifesto that giving maximum services to the city's big population is the true qualification. He also said, "I have nothing to get. I have got all the earthly gains through my family. If I get the chance, my promise is to sacrifice my intellect, work and everything for this city's people."
Awami League and boat symbol mayoral candidate and joint general secretary Rezaul Karim Chowdhury said in his 37-point manifesto that Chattogram Development Authority (CDA), Wasa and the city corporation's works will get the highest attention to solve the waterlogging problem. Canal-river restoration and water drainage issues, errors and obstacles will be detected and rules implemented to solve these issues within hundred days.
Also read: Training for CCC election officials begins