Hasina seeks vote to finish development tasksHasan Major
The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, on Friday sought people’s cooperation and vote in the coming elections to help her accomplish the unfinished development tasks as well as free the nation from corruption, militancy and poverty.
‘Bangladesh has now become a model of development…I want your cooperation and your votes once again to complete my tasks,’ she told a massive public rally at the historic Suhrawardy Udyan marking the end of the month-long National Mourning Day programmes.
In an emotionally charged voice, Hasina, the eldest daughter of the slain independence leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, said, ‘I will shade my blood, if necessary, like my father to establish the rights of people.’
‘I have lost everything in 1975 but I do politics only for the people’s rights and a poverty-free Bangladesh,’ she said.
In her 30-minute speech, Hasina focused on the development works done in the capital as well as across the country and came down hard on her arch political rival Khaleda Zia.
‘Awami League has implemented what it had pledged to the people,’ she said amid cheers. She said that after electing Awami League candidates in all constituencies in Dhaka city in 2008, the people of the capital have not been deprived of development, water, gas and electricity. Likewise, you would not be deprived in future if Awami League returns to power. And for that, we want your vote in the next general elections to build a poverty-free Bangladesh,’ she said.
The prime minister said Awami League every time after coming to power tried to do something for welfare of the people, but BNP, whenever they came to power, indulged in plunder, corruption and siphoning off public money.
She said that the Awami League-led government wanted to complete the development tasks it had undertaken after coming to power in the last polls as it wanted to turn Bangladesh into a model of development in the world by 2021.
Unfortunately, whenever BNP-Jamaat came to power, they carried out a reign of terror, indulged in corruption and harboured militants, she told the rally.
‘People’s life and property are not safe at the hands of BNP-Jamaat as they patronise killers and militants,’ said Hasina, also the Awami League president.
Referring to the ongoing trials of the war criminals of 1971, she said that when everybody wanted the war criminals to be punished for committing heinous crimes against humanity, BNP along with the war criminals had given a 48-hour ‘ultimatum’ to ‘oust’ her elected government.
About the repatriation of the money siphoned off by Arafat Rahman to Singapore, Hasina said it was for the first time that the government had been able to bring back smuggled money. ‘Khaleda flew to Singapore twice in a bid to save the money her son had smuggled out, but failed,’ the prime minister said.
The prime minister said that Khaleda Zia did not believe in the nation’s independence ‘and for this she celebrates her fake birthday on August 15, the day the entire nation mourns the father of nation.’
She said Ziaur Rahman had rewarded the killers of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in different ways, including making some of them prime minister and ministers.
In the similar manner, his wife Khaleda made the killers lawmakers in the voter-less February 15 elections which exposed her relations with the killers, Hasina said.
She said that the government had brought the 15th amendment to the constitution and dropped the provision for any unconstitutional government in line with the verdict of the High Court.
About the current disputes over an election-time government, Hasina said, ‘When I invited her [Khaleda] to sit for a dialogue to settle the issue of an election-time government, she replied by giving a 48-hour ultimatum to oust my government.’ ‘Where has her ultimatum gone,’ she asked.
Referring to Khaleda’s threat that storms of movement would blow her ( Hasina) hair, the prime minister humorously said that she had no reason to worry about her hair as it was not fake like that of Khaleda.
About the trials of the war criminals, she said, ‘The trials of Bangabandhu’s killers took place to rid the nation of a stigma and the trials of war criminals are taking place because the people voted Awami League to power.’ The trials of war criminals will also be completed on the soil of Bangladesh, she iterated.
About the eviction of Khaleda from her Dhaka cantonment residence, Hasina said that the opposition leader was not evicted by a government order. ‘She was evicted after she lost the case. The nation witnessed during her eviction what a lavish life she had led. She did not wail for her husband the way she did after she lost the cantonment house.’
Former president of Dhaka city AL MA Aziz presided over the rally addressed by deputy leader of parliament Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, AL advisory council members Amir Hossain Amu and Tofail Ahmed, presidium members Mohammad Nasim, Sahara Khatun, joint general secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif, Jahangir Kabir Nanak and shipping minister Shahajahan Khan.
The mourning rally of Dhaka city AL virtually turned into an election rally of Awami League as thousands of activists from different parts of Dhaka joined the rally carrying replica of ‘boat’, the polls symbol of AL, and seeking vote by chanting slogans.
The city witnessed long caravans of vehicles leading to Suhrawardy Udyan carrying thousands of party activists.
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