Marking 15 February as a "black day for democracy", the ruling Awami League (AL) held rallies and processions in Dhaka Monday.
At a rally in Dhaka's Dhanmondi Russell Square marking the day, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader said BNP threw the country's electoral system and democracy into darkness by holding a lopsided election in 1996.
The election was boycotted by the major political parties including Awami League for poll-time caretaker government. In the sixth parliamentary polls, BNP secured 278 seats of the total 300 in the House.
The BNP, the arch-rival of the AL, also observes its version of black day on 11 January- marking the political changeover in 2007 when a military-backed interim government replaced the then caretaker government.
Quader at Monday's Awami League programme said, "The BNP held the voterless election in a bid to establish their one-party dictatorship." He said the people rejected the election results while questions were raised both in home and abroad about the credibility of the polls.
Recalling the post-poll protests, the Awami League leader said 150 innocent people were killed during the widespread demonstrations.
Though the BNP got a landslide victory in the 1996 national election, the government could not continue for long. The then ruling party placed a draft of the poll-time caretaker government in the parliament, which got included in the constitution.
Quader said, "As BNP became completely isolated, it had to bow down before the demand of the people. The party on 30 March had to hand over power to the caretaker government."
He said, "Awami League won the free and fair elections held on 12 June in that year. With the victory, the people also got back voting right."
On 11 January 2007, a state of emergency was declared as the military-backed interim government replaced the then caretaker government.
Marking the day as "black day", BNP leaders allege national and international conspiracies contributed to the changeover in power following the completion of the BNP-led alliance government's tenure in 2006.
At Awami League's Monday programme, Quader said, "BNP's conspiracy, which started after the brutal assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family members in 1975, has never stopped. Dictator Ziaur Rahman gave birth to a poisonous tree called BNP to prolong his illegitimate power."
At the program, Awami League Presidium Member Abdur Razzak, Lt Col (Retd) Muhammad Faruk Khan and Advocate Abdul Mannan Khan, Joint-General Secretary Dipu Moni, Organizing Secretary Mirza Azam, Dhaka North General Secretary SM Mannan Kachi also attended while Dhaka North President Bazlur Rahman chaired it.