In a rare aggressive gesture, many BNP activists turned up at a rally in front of the party's Naya Paltan office with sticks and cricket stumps on Sunday.
Fire-breathing central leaders told them that the party does not believe in Gandhian idealism philosophy anymore and would give befitting replies if the ruling Awami League carries out further attacks.
At the programme, BNP men were instructed to wage a mass movement against the government and hold the ground.
But top ruling Awami League (AL) leaders said they neither will allow BNP to flex its muscles nor leave room for the political opponent anymore.
In the wake of the political atmosphere heating up centering the next parliamentary election, business leaders and analysts, however, called for political tolerance.
On condition of anonymity, several central AL leaders told The Business Standard that grassroots-level partymen have been instructed to be vigilant to prevent any chaos in the name of political programmes by BNP.
"As the ruling party, the Awami League is responsible to safeguard the lives and property of the people. That is why we cannot leave the room for the BNP," AL Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif told The Business Standard on Sunday.
BNP is scheduled to hold rallies in Dhaka's Mohakhali, Banani and Gulshan on Monday. Till Sunday evening, law enforcers were yet to give permission for the political programme.
"If we do not get the permission, we will bring out processions on every street and lane in the capital on Monday," said Dhaka Metropolitan BNP convener Aman Ullah Aman.
"This time, we are determined to retaliate if we are attacked," he warned.
Bangladesh's political arena started to heat up suddenly after two people were killed in a shooting at a BNP programme in Bhola late-July and one in Narayanganj early-September while protesting commodity price hikes.
Subsequently, sporadic clashes across the country marred BNP movements against commodity price hikes.
In the latest attack on Saturday, BNP Central Executive Committee Member Tabith Awal and Vice Chairman Barkatullah Bulu were attacked respectively in Dhaka and Cumilla while they were protesting price hikes of daily essentials and fuel.
Apart from Tabith, the attack in the capital left some other top BNP leaders hurt as the ruling party activists attacked them with sticks and threw brick chunks at them.
On Saturday night, AL men allegedly looted the house of a BNP's youth wing Jubo Dal man in Narayanganj.
Although the BNP has been active in the political arena for the past few years, their activities were limited to indoor programmes. But in the last couple of months, the party's strategy seems to have changed as partymen are asked to take to the streets.
Sources said that the Awami League wanted BNP to carry out the programmes on a limited scale. But ruling party leaders subsequently felt that the BNP was trying to strengthen its organisational capacity across the country through the agitations. The obstructions started to surface as AL does not want BNP to flex muscles except Dhaka's Naya Paltan-centric programmes.
Mannan Kochi, general secretary of Dhaka Metropolitan Awami League (North), told TBS that they have instructions from the centre to be "careful" at the local level.
Claiming BNP's countrywide price hike protests have turned violent, AL Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said, "It is usual that the law enforcers will get tough if there is violence."
"Besides, local Awami League leaders and workers cannot sit idle," he told TBS.
There are allegations against the government that the attacks are meant to remove BNP from the political equation for the next general election. However, Awami League Presidium Member Abdur Rahman discarded it, saying they want the next polls to be free, fair and participatory.
He argued that as the BNP does not have the leadership to participate in the election, they want to destabilise the situation and thwart the election at any cost.
Political analyst and former election commissioner Brigadier General (Retired) M Sakhawat Hussain told TBS that the political arena may heat up a bit as the election looms. In this case, the ruling party should deal with the situation tactically.
"I think the Awami League needs to show more tolerance so that any conflicting situation could be averted. And the BNP also should chart out their strategies carefully," he added.
Businessmen too called for maintaining peace and stability for the sake of the country's economy.
Faruque Hassan, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), urged both Awami League and BNP to settle the political issues amicably through discussion.
"If there is any unrest, it will hurt buyer's confidence and eventually damage the economy. The situation will lead to concerns both in and outside of the country," he noted.
While detailing an export promotion campaign "Made in Bangladesh" planned in November, the BGMEA president a week ago said political stability is necessary to sustain the growth of the country's RMG sector.
"We hope they do not disturb the business for the sake of development and growth of the country," the export sector leader said.