Prime Minister and president of the ruling Awami League (AL) Sheikh Hasina on Friday urged the people of her country to vote the AL to power again “to continue the ongoing pace of development”. “I am grateful to you as you have voted us to power. Now I want your votes once again to complete the developmental activities undertaken by the incumbent government,” she said while addressing a rally organised by the city unit of the party at the historical Suhrawardi Uddyan in the capital.
The Premier also reiterated her stand to hold the next elections in accordance with the present Constitution. “The Awami League believes in the people’s mandate and in the Constitution,” Hasina said. In her half-an-hour-long speech, the Premier came down heavily on the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and warned the people that if the BNP comes to power agan, “anarchy would reign.”
“When the Awami League comes to power, the country experiences development, but when the BNP comes to power, killing and looting become regular phenomena in the country,” she said.
“I want to build a Bangladesh free of militants, hunger and corruption,” she said, adding, “If necessary, I will sacrifice my life to ensure the rights of the people.”
The Premier said the AL had fulfilled all the pledges it had made before the elections. Listing her government’s developmental activities in various sectors, she said, “Nobody feels deprived after casting his/her vote for the Awami League.”
The huge rally, chaired by Dhaka city AL secretary M A Aziz, was addressed among others by Deputy leader of the Jatiya Sangsad Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Awami League advisory council members Amir Hossain Amu and Tofail Ahmed, presidium members Mohammad Nasim and Sahara Khatun and general secretary of Dhaka City unit Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya.
Referring to the BNP chairperson’s recent remark that the hair of the AL chief would be mussed from the wind pressure to be generated by the people’s movement, Hasina said her hair would not be affected as it is kept under a veil (a ‘ghomta’).
“I don’t have any wig. Rather, she (Khaleda)
should fear that her fake hair would be blown off,” she stated.
Expressing gratitude to the people of Dhaka for their role during the army-backed caretaker government regime, Sheikh Hasina said the then government was compelled to hold the general elections as the people demanded that she be released and that elections be held.
Delineating the government’s various moves for making the capital free of traffic congestion, the PM said the Hanif Flyover would be opened to the public soon. “We will also start work on the Metro Rail project immediately,” she said and thanked the law enforcement agencies for maintaining law and order.
The Premier alleged that whenever the BNP and its allies assumed office, they plunged the country into corruption and patronised violence and militancy.
“They not only loot public wealth but also siphon off the money. The government has brought the money back,” she said, adding that Khaleda Zia went twice to Singapore to save her son from corruption charges.
The Prime Minister claimed that the leader of the opposition did not believe in the country’s independence. “Whenever the BNP assumes office, it vandalises mandirs (temples), hurls bombs at religious institutions, and sets pagodas on fire,” she said, adding that it was part of their nature to patronise the killers of Bangabandhu.
The AL president alleged that Ziaur Rahman rehabilitated Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s killers while the incumbent government has freed the nation of the stigma by executing the verdict.
“As the people have cast their votes for the ‘boat’ symbol, the government could start the trial of the war criminals, and the people are now getting the verdicts,” she said.
The Premier claimed that the opposition leader had been trying to save the war criminals while the nation was demanding their trial. “All the war criminals will be brought to book and the verdicts will also be executed,” she said.
Earlier, addressing the rally, Tofail Ahmed said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would not backtrack from her stand to hold the next general elections in accordance with the country’s Constitution.
“If the soil of the country and its people remain intact, the next polls must be held under the incumbent Sheikh Hasina government.”
Referring to Nobel laureate Dr Mohammad Yunus’ proposal to sit with the ruling Awami League, Tofail asked: “Who are you? Are you an unbiased person? Why will we go to you?”
Former home minister Mohammad Nasim reiterated his party’s stand that the next polls must be held in accordance with the country’s Constitution. At the same time, he urged foreign friends of the country not to intervene in the internal affairs of Bangladesh.
Amir Hossain Amu said the people of the country would not want to see those who want to make Bangladesh into a militant state, like Pakistan and Afghanistan, attain state power.
He said the AL government has already proved that free, fair and credible elections are possible under its supervision.
In her speech, Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury called upon the leaders and workers of the party to be united under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina to make the AL victorious in the next general elections.
Sajeda also called upon the party leaders and workers to wage another war against those who were engaged in hatching a conspiracy to make the country a failed state.
Among others, AL joint general secretary Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif, state minister for law, Advocate Qamrul Islam, and state minister for local government and rural development (LGRD) and cooperatives, Advocate Jahangir Kabir Nanok, were present.
-With The Independent input