Leaders, activists and supporters of the Chattogram Awami League have gone into a jamboree frenzy as the party's President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to address a grand rally in the city after four and a half years.
The ruling Awami League will hold a grand rally in the port city's Polo Ground on 4 December ahead of the upcoming national elections.
While the party men are undertaking full scale preparations for hosting the mass rally, Chattogram City Corporation has been doing renovation and beautification work across the city.
Earlier, the BNP started its divisional rallies across the country, holding a mass rally in the port city's Polo Ground on 12 October.
The ruling party now wants its rally to be a political showdown exerting its strength and dominance in the country's political arena, according to party leaders.
Drawing a huge crowd, this rally will also serve as a befitting reply to the BNP's rallies, they said.
The central leaders of the Awami League are staying in Chattogram throughout this week to gear up for the grand event organised by the Chattogram city unit, and Chattogram North and South District units of the Awami League.
AL wants to send a strong message to BNP
Awami League's grand rally in Chattogram is expected to jack up election fever among people while tensions run high between the ruling party and the opposition BNP.
The BNP wants to hold a divisional rally in Dhaka on 10 December. Police suggested the BNP should have its rally at Suhrawardy Udyan but the opposition party insists on holding the rally in front of its Nayapaltan central office.
Chattogram Metropolitan Awami League General Secretary AJM Nasir Uddin said, "Important messages about local and national issues will come from the prime minister's rally at the Polo Ground."
Sheikh Hasina will seek votes for her party as well as respond to the anarchy of the BNP in the name of rallies, he said.
A year before the national elections, the leaders of the two main political parties engaged in a war of words through public rallies.
Pointing to the public turnout at BNP rallies, BNP leaders have been saying the majority of the people do not want to stick with the incumbent government.
In response to that, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader invited BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir to look at the public turnout for the Awami League rally.
Ctg brimming with AL posters and banners
A few days before the rally, the port city is brimming with posters, banners, placards and miniature boats as jubilant activists intensify campaigns.
Almost all the important roads of the city are covered with 'boat' banners and posters– the party symbol of Awami League. To increase the attendance of people, activists are going door-to-door encouraging people to join the rally.
Speaking about the preparations for the rally, AJM Nasir Uddin, general secretary of Chattogram Metropolitan Awami League, said more than two lakh people from 44 organisational wards of the city will join the rally.
Apart from this, supporters of Awami League-affiliated organisations such as Jubo League, Chhatra League, and Krishak League will also join the rally, he added.
A 160 foot long, boat-shaped stage in the making
The construction of a 160 foot long, boat-shaped stage is in full swing at the Polo Ground where 200 guests can sit together. Apart from this, separate pandals are being made in front of the stage to accommodate freedom fighters, VIPs, and women.
Law enforcement will be deployed at various points of the venue. Portable toilets and CCTV cameras are also being installed.
7,500 police personnel to ensure rally safety
According to the Chattogram Metropolitan Police, around 7,500 policemen will be deployed in and around the city to ensure the safety of people joining the prime minister's rally. A detailed security plan has been made based on information provided by the intelligence agencies.
CMP Commissioner, Krishna Pada Roy, said, "The prime minister's security protocol is coordinated by the Special Security Force (SSF) and police personnel will be deployed at various points under the supervision and guidance of the SSF."
"In addition, SSF, plainclothes police, uniformed police, and intelligence personnel will be on duty. Besides, closed circuit cameras and drones will be included in the security measures. Not only the rally grounds but the entire city will also be covered by a blanket of security," the CMP commissioner added.