Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said the people of the country see no alternative to ‘Boat’ as her party has been working to change their fate since its inception, reports BSS.
“They (people) know that ‘Boat’ is the election symbol of Awami League and they have no other option except this. AL has come to power not to make its own fortune but to change people’s fate,” she said. The Prime Minister was virtually presiding over an AL meeting arranged at its Bangabandhu Avenue office in the capital marking party’s 73rd founding anniversary from her official residence Ganabhaban.
Sheikh Hasina said Awami League has been working for people’s welfare since its inception. “The party has not only given the people the independence but is also reaching the fruit of independence to every doorstep.”
She said her government has given electricity to every house and is working to bring every person under a housing scheme as none would remain homeless and landless in the country of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The premier heavily criticised BNP leaders for their demand to stop the grand opening celebrations of the Padma Bridge on the plea of flooding.
She said their party has yet stood by the flood-affected people while the government has already mobilised all its resources to extend every support to the flood-hit people since the beginning.
AL Presidium Members Begum Matia Chowdhury, MP, Advocate Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Abdur Rahman, AHM Khairuzzaman Liton and Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, Bir Bikram, Joint General Secretary Mahbub-ul Alam Hanif, MP, International Affairs Secretary Dr Shammi Ahmed, Central Executive Committee Member Parvin Zaman Kalpana, Dhaka South and North city AL Presidents Abu Ahmed Monnafi and Sheikh Bazlur Rahman respectively also spoke on the occasion.
Awami League was formed on June 23, 1949, which later transformed into the biggest political party of the country to lead struggles of freedom, the War of Liberation and all democratic movements.
Sheikh Hasina said the people of the country have realised that the government is a public servant after her party came to power in 1996 after 21 years.
“The fate of the country’s people changes whenever Awami League comes to power. So, the party has been obstructed from assuming office time and again,” she said.
The Prime Minister said after coming to power in 2001, the BNP-Jamaat alliance destroyed whatever her party had achieved during their tenure from 1996-2001 and unleashed a reign of militancy, terrorism and corruption.
“Bangladesh had been champions in corruption for five times during the period of Khaleda Zia. We’ve taken Bangladesh to a dignified position from that disrespectful situation. Bangladesh is now a role model of development and becoming a developing nation,” she said.
“So, it doesn’t suit the BNP leaders to say something regarding corruption in the Padma Bridge project which was already proved false, fabricated and baseless by a Canadian court,” Sheikh Hasina added.
The premier said Bangabandhu had initiated the survey to construct the Jamuna Bridge following a visit to Japan after the country’s independence and urged the Japanese government to help build the bridge.
Zia’s government had stopped the process while Khaleda Zia did nothing as Ershad did something to this end, she said.
After coming to power in 1996, the Awami League government had started the construction work incorporating, rail, gas and power in the existing design, she said, adding the World Bank had opposed the rail bridge saying that would not be viable.
“But, I had said it would be viable. Now the rail bridge is becoming viable and profitable. The World Bank has now expressed their desire to build a dedicated rail bridge,” she said.
In this connection, the Prime Minister said Awami League knows the people of the country, its soil and nature better than any others, adding that how will BNP know the people as Pakistan still exists in their minds.
BNP doesn’t believe in the spirit of the Liberation War and their mentality is not for Bangladesh, she said. “And it’s also right that Zia, Khaleda and Ershad were not born in the country. My father and I were born in the country and we have zeal for its soil,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina asked all the party leaders and activists alongside the armed forces, police, BGB and Ansar to grow food grains in whatever places they have as the entire world is now facing a crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.
She reiterated her call not to leave a single inch of land uncultivated as part of the move to grow “our food by ourselves to face the global crisis.”
About BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir’s remarks that Khaleda Zia or Tarique Rahman will lead the party and be the Prime Minister if BNP goes to power, the Prime Minister said how Tarique Rahman can lead the party as he does not dare to return home.
“If a political leader has no courage to return home, how he can lead the party,” she said, adding that she herself came back to the country despite threats and efforts to prevent her homecoming during the caretaker government. “I came back home forcefully taking it as a challenge,” she said.
The Awami League president lambasted those who said Tarique Rahman is not allowed to return home, saying it is not right. “None ousted him. He went abroad willingly and didn’t return.”
She added that Tarique Rahman went abroad during the caretaker government giving a written bond that he would not do politics anymore, saying how BNP leaders can forget it.
Sheikh Hasina further questioned how the election can be participatory when BNP is facing the crisis of right leadership. “How can the election be participatory when a party was created from a pocket of a person who illegally grabbed the power violating the country’s constitution and now its leaders are convicted in corruption, murder and arms-haul charges and are fugitive?”
Referring to 2018 national election, the premier said the BNP leaders changed their candidates in a constituency several times in a day due to nomination business.
BNP leaders Enam Ahmed Chowdhury and Morshed Khan told her that Tarique Rahman sought a huge amount of money from them for giving the party’s nomination, but they refused.
The prime minister questioned how the party can attract the voters when they start election business and how the people can vote for a party when it is leaderless.
Referring to Tarique Rahman’s remarks that the defeated forces of 1975 are in power, she said the remarks proved that his parents Ziaur Rahman and Khaleda Zia were involved in the 1975 August carnage.
Sheikh Hasina said Zia rehabilitated the killers of Bangabandhu by providing prize postings in foreign missions after general amnesty from the killing charges with enacting indemnity ordinance.