Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader said the BNP has been unable to mount a successful movement over the years to free its chairperson Khaleda Zia, and though the party is now talking about her treatment, they lack the will for this initiative.
Making the remark on Thursday at an event in Dhaka, to distribute Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's financial aid to cultural activists, Quader added that the BNP claims there is no democracy in Bangladesh, but the party itself had actively worked to undermine it.
"The BNP has killed people and committed arson in the country. Speaking about democracy does not suit them," he said at the programme organised by the Awami League Sub-committee on Cultural Affairs, at the AL Central Office on Bangabandhu Avenue.
Quader, also the road transport and bridges minister who addressed the event as chief guest, continued, "Mirza Fakhrul [secretary general of BNP] won in the election, but he stepped down.
"If Fakhrul had remained in parliament, he could have voiced constructive criticism against the government. He could have also shed light on any wrongdoings of the ruling party. Moreover, BNP people can no longer be found on the streets for any movement."
Talking about the media, Quader said, "The media seems to have taken a stance against the government. They are taking comments from people who dislike the Awami League, while no one is saying anything about our success in mitigating Covid-19 infections in the country.
"I am urging everyone to be united and strengthen the prime minister's hand to establish a non-communal country."
Addressing cultural activists at the event, he said, "Culture is the soul of a nation and cultural activists keep it alive. They should not continue to suffer hardships."
Awami League Office Secretary, Biplab Barua, said, "Due to the fall in income because of the pandemic, we received appeals for financial aid from people working in various sectors, including cultural activists.
"We sent those appeals to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. She was shocked to learn about the hardships faced by cultural activists and earmarked this aid from her own funds. If anyone needs any kind of further help, just let us know. The Awami League will stand by their side."
Around one hundred cultural activists are getting the prime minister's financial aid amounting to Tk10,000 each. Some received their cheques at the programme, while others will get the aid from Awami League's Dhanmondi office at a later time.
Mancha Sarathi Ataur Rahman, chairman of the Awami League Sub-committee on Cultural Affairs, chaired the event.