Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday preferred not to downsize the cabinet ahead of the election for the sake of completing the ongoing crucial development projects.
Sheikh Hasina, however, said if the opposition party demands a smaller cabinet then it could be done.
“”I don’t know whether it’s needed (to shrink the cabinet),” she said while addressing a press conference at her official residence Ganobhaban.
The press conference was arranged to brief journalists about the outcome of her recent official visit to Saudi Arabia at the invitation of Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
The Prime Minister said the existing cabinet is comprised of representatives from all the parties having representation in parliament unlike the previous one which was formed only with members of the ruling Awami League.
Hasina also mentioned that she has already talked to the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament and wanted to know about the issue from her.
“I told her we’ll do what you demand…if they want we’ll go for shrinking the cabinet, or else, the cabinet will remain the same,” she said.
Hasina, also the chief of Awami League, said the ongoing development projects will get stalled if the cabinet is downsized during the election.
“We’ve already passed [cleared] a number of projects…there’ll be problems in implementing those projects. I you give more than one ministries to a minister, there’s a doubt whether that minister will be able to do those works,” she told journalists.
Hasina said the government will have to do so many works in the coming three months. “I don’t know whether these works will be hampered or not, there is a problem in this regard.”
The Prime Minister mentioned that she also had discussions with the President about it but she did not elaborate about the outcome of the discussions.
She said she discussed the matter with the leaders of some countries like Australia, New Zealand, Britain and India where the parliamentary form of democracy is followed.
“They don’t change the government during the election. Let’s see what the opposition demands. We’ll do that if they want… or else it will remain the same,” Hasina said.
Responding to a question about the uncertainty over the upcoming election, the Prime Minister said the Election Commission is independent and they are taking preparations to hold the election independently.
She questioned about the motive of the vested group trying to create uncertainty about the election. “Their motive is to hamper the democratic process of the country for their personal gains.”
Hasina said her party wants to see an election to be held in a fair manner. “I want to say one thing, we want a fair election in Bangladesh...the election must be held, Inshallah. I believe that.”
The AL chief said conspiracy is natural in Bangladesh as it is going on every moment. “We’re taking Bangladesh forward socioeconomically amid conspiracies.”
Hasina said the reason behind this success is the strength of the people of Bangladesh. “I believe in the strength of people…people have their trust and belief in me…I think that. There’ll be an election in the country defying all the conspiracies.
She the Election Commission is taking its preparation and it will announce the election schedule.
Hasina also said Awami League and the government have the ability to face any sort of conspiracy.
The Prime Minister slammed Dr Kamal Hossain again and said he has forged a political alliance with the corrupt and anti-liberation forces.
About the new alliance, ‘Jatiya Oikyafront’, she said the alliance has been formed with the anti-liberation forces and those who were involved in the August 21 grenade attack, money laundering and looting the money of orphan.
Responding to a question, Hasina said Kamal Hossain said has joined hands with those who tried to kill her.
But she welcomed the process to form the alliance and said that it is the people of the country what they think about this alliance. “But we are not seeing the move negatively.”
Replying to another question, Hasina said the aim of the government will be to maintain the pace of socioeconomic development if it is voted to power again. “We want to free the country from hunger and poverty.”
Recalling the destructive activities of the BNP-Jamaat clique during the last election time, the Prime Minister said the government will do whatever is needed to keep people safe.
“We’ll do whatever is needed to ensure people will stay in peace,” she said.