Amid widespread criticisms for celebrating it on the National Mourning Day, BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia has decided not to cut any cake at the wee hours on Monday celebrating her 71st birthday this year.“Madam [Khaleda] never celebrated her birthday on her own. Every year leaders and activists bring cakes on the occasion, and she cuts those showing respect to their emotion. This time she’s decided not to cut any cake as the country is in a serious crisis and party leaders and activists are being subjected to repressive acts while many flood victims are going through immense sufferings,” her media wing member Sayrul Kabir Khan told UNB.
He also said leaders and activists of BNP and its associate bodies are also directed not to bring any cake to her Gulshan office and residence to mark the birthday.On the occasion, Sayrul said Khaleda requests all to pray for her so that she can succeed in resorting democracy and people’s rights.He also said the BNP chief also did not cut any cake last year at her Gulshan office as she had not gone there on that day as it was Friday. The BNP chief usually does not go to her office on Friday as she passes the weekend at home.Lat year, she, however, cut cakes at night the following day and party leaders and activists also celebrated it on their own initiatives.Party insiders said there is also no scheduled programme to celebrate the birthday at the party’s Nayapaltan central office.They, however, said BNP leaders and activists may unceremoniously celebrate Khaleda’s birthday this year. The nation will observe Mourning Day on Monday commemorating the assassinations of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members on August 15, 1975.Contacted, party standing committee member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy said they are not going to cut any cake this year celebrating their chairperson’s birthday day as huge people hit hard by floods in the country’s northern and central regions are going through untold sufferings while people are getting killed here and there regularly and party leaders are being repressed, arrested and sent to jail.Khaleda, a three-time Prime Minister, was born in 1946. But, there are a lot of debates about her actual date of birth.There is controversy over her birth year as well. Various records suggest Khaleda Zia was born in 1945. But last year her party claimed her actual birth year is 1946. She also registered her birth year 1946 in her new passport.According to Banglapedia and well-known encyclopedias wikipedia and Britannica Khaleda Zia was born to Iskandar Majumder, a businessman, and Taiyaba Majumder in Dinajpur district in 1945. The biodata Khaleda Zia submitted to Parliament Secretariat when she was made the opposition leader last suggests that the BNP chief was born on August 15, 1945.The controversy over the birthday began in 1991 when Khaleda first celebrated it on August 15 after assuming office as Prime Minister and declared it as her ‘official birthday’.Awami League leaders have long been claiming that her birthday is September 5, 1945 according to her marriage certificate while August 19, 1946 as per her first passport. Khaleda herself put the date as August 9, 1944 while registering her name for her matriculation exams, they said.On August 5, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader at a programme urged Khaleda to refrain from celebrating her ‘fake’ birthday if she really wants to forge a national unity to curb militancy.Speaking at a discussion, he also said those who want to celebrate a fake birthday in the mourning month standing on the blood of the Father of the Nation want to invite new problems instead of forgoing a national unity.Krishak Sramik Janata League President Abdul Kader Siddique also at a recent meeting with Khaleda, urged her not to celebrate her controversial birthday on the day of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s assassination, even if it is real one.