The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party on Wednesday said that the government increased the charge of residential prepaid gas meters to take revenge on people for not appearing in the polling stations on January 7.

‘A two-fold increase in meter fares has been imposed on people for watching the circus in silence on January 7,’ BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said at a press conference at the party’s Naya Paltan central office, castigating the government for its decision to double the charge of residential prepaid gas meters.

‘Most of the time, there is no gas supply at night. Yet, the illegitimate government is shamelessly planning to extract money from the common people using various tactics,’ Rizvi said.

Earlier on January 29, the state-owned Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company declared that the monthly gas meter charge would be raised from Tk 100 to Tk 200 from January this year, to cover the operational and maintenance expenses of the meters.

The BNP leader described the hike as ‘a punishment imposed on the people for silently witnessing the government›s circus,’ referring to the January 7 parliamentary polls as ‘rejected and one-party dummy election.’

He said that doubling the meter rent without ensuring a steady gas supply is a clear reflection of the government’s ‘enemy-of-the-people’ character.

Rizvi also addressed the broader economic distress Bangladesh may face in his speech.

The dollar crisis has led to a collapse in export growth, he said, adding that decisions like reducing cash incentives in sectors, such as, the garment industry, leather, jute and agro-processing, will significantly harm exports.

The BNP leader accused the ruling party of pushing the country into anarchy with its primary goal of looting the nation.

He said that the sole purpose of wielding the power forcefully by intimidating the public is to turn the entire country into a haven for looting. As a result, the country is engulfed in a dark chaos of lawlessness, he added.

He said that during Tuesday’s pre-announced peaceful black-flag procession of the BNP, the police launched attacks on the leaders and activists in many spots across the country, including Dhaka.

‘In those attacks, many leaders and activists were harassed, arrested, while false cases have been filed against many. I strongly condemn this barbaric police attack and demand immediate and unconditional release of the activists along with the withdrawal of the false cases,’ he said.

He said that at least 100 BNP leaders and activists were arrested on Tuesday and six new cases were filed against 456 BNP people.