The measure was undertaken to thwart any incident in the wake of the ruling and opposition parties' plans to hold programmes or rallies, defying police ban imposed on Sunday.

A political standoff over the opposition alliance's demand for a fresh poll under a non-party caretaker government system has led to the ruling and opposition parties giving a call to hold rallies in January 5 in the national capital to stage a showdown.

Former prime minister Khaleda Zia and BNP leader, who has been cordoned off inside her office has asked her 20-party opposition alliance leaders and activists to make their January 5 rally a success by defying the police ban imposed on political congregations.

Police have banned all forms of processions, meetings and rallies in Dhaka after the ruling party Awami League (AL) and the opposition's Bangladesh National Party (BNP) announced to hold parallel programmes on Monday, which happens to be the first anniversary of the 2014 parliamentary elections.

Meanwhile, only a handful of buses and other vehicles headed towards the capital, as transport workers said departure of all Dhaka-bound buses from different divisional and district towns remained suspended since 9.00 a.m.

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