BNP spokesman Asaduzzaman Ripon on Wednesday said it’s the party men, not party chairperson Khaleda Zia, who celebrates her birthday on August 15, that coincides with the National Mourning Day.
“BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia herself doesn’t celebrate her birthday (on August 15),” he said at a press briefing at the party’s Nayapaltan central office.
As his attention was drawn to Awami League leaders’ call to the BNP chief for not celebrating her birthday on August 15, Ripon said “Celebrating birthday is one’s very personal matter. You can’t impose on any one whether he/she will celebrate his/her birthday.”
Senior Awami League leaders on various recent occasions, urged Khaleda to refrain from celebrating her birthday on August 15 from this year as the nation mourns on that day commemorating the brutal killings of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members.
Ripon said there’s nothing wrong to make any appeal to the BNP chief not to celebrate her birthday on August 15. “But if they try to say anything about her birth-date we have objection to it.”
He said BNP leaders and activists celebrate Khaleda Zia’s birthday to express their feelings about their party chairperson.
Khaleda Zia was born in 1946, but her date of birth remains a matter of contention. She used to cut her birthday cake brought by her party men in the first hours of Aug 15 at her Gulshan office, accompanied by party leaders.
Khaleda’s birthday has been observed in a festive mood on the day since 1991, when she became prime minister for the first time.
Despite criticisms by Awami League, BNP and its associate bodies have been celebrating her birthday on August 15 since then.
Awami League leaders have long been claiming that her birthday is Sept 5, 1945 according to her marriage certificate and Aug 19, 1946 as per her first passport.
Khaleda herself put the date as Aug 9, 1944 while registering her name for the matriculation exams, they claimed.