Rajshahi residents as well as inter-city passengers suffered enormously yesterday as bus services remained suspended on security grounds ahead of the BNP's divisional rally.
Even though the bus counters were open on Monday morning, no one was selling tickets. No vehicle left from or entered the district – which intensified the sufferings of commuters.
Shafiqul Islam, counter master of Hanif Enterprise, said they were not allowed to sell any tickets. They will not sell tickets unless the owners' association gives permission.
Abul Bashar, a software engineer working in Dhaka, was waiting in front of the counter. He said that he needed to return to his workplace in Dhaka on an emergency basis but there were no buses.
Nazma Begum, from Chapainawabganj, came to Rajshahi with her children following an appointment with a doctor on Monday. But bus services were stopped and they could not return home.
When asked, Rajshahi Metropolitan Police spokesman Additional Deputy Commissioner Golam Ruhul Quddus said that they are trying to tackle the situation.
BNP Rajshahi divisional organising secretary Ruhul Quddus Talukder recalled that the bus service was also suspended during the 2018 rally.
Meanwhile, at the divisional rally BNP leaders said the Awami League government must be overthrown through street protests and that this year is the last year of the Awami League government.
The rally was organised in protest of countrywide vote rigging and an increase in the prices of daily necessities.
Joining the rally, BNP central leaders called upon the party activists to be ready for the movement.
To join the rally, which was held at 3pm, BNP, Chhatra Dal and Juba Dal leaders and activists from Rajshahi and the surrounding districts and upazilas started entering the city in the morning. They then marched in groups to the venue of the rally.
However, they complained that they faced various obstacles as transport owners and workers suspended the bus services just ahead of the rally. Additionally, there were police obstacles at every turn.
At the rally, BNP chairperson's advisor Mizanur Rahman Minu alleged that starting from the upazila activists to the central leaders, all were barred from coming to the rally.
BNP central organising secretary Ruhul Quddus Talukder Dulu said, "2021 is the last year of the Awami government. After this year, this government will not be allowed to stay in power."
Among others, the rally was also addressed by BNP-nominated mayoral candidates from Dhaka North and South as well as Chattogram, Khulna and Barisal. They said the government had a biased role during the election.
BNP sources claimed although the party sought permission to hold a rally at the Madrasa ground in Rajshahi, the administration allowed them to hold it at Nice Convention Centre.