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BNP-Jamaat must stop terror to do politics: PM

She agrees to revitalise grassroots units before upazila polls

Mahamudul Hasan

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina agreed to suggestions of party leaders to reorganise and revitalise the party’s grassroots before going for upazila parishad elections.
‘The Election Commission wants to hold the elections in 2-3 months. But the prime minister agreed to our suggestions to go for the upazila polls after reorganising the party,’ a senior AL leader told New Age after the party’s central working committee meeting at Ganabhaban.
In her introductory speech at the meeting, the prime minister warned Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jamaat-e-Islami of stringent action if they did not renounce terrorism and asked them to follow democratic norms in doing politics.
‘BNP-Jamaat must stop militant and terrorist activities and follow democratic norms if they want to do politics in Bangladesh,’ she said.
Khairuzzaman Liton, ALC WC member, told New Age that Hasina, also the party president, in the meeting had taken a decision to form seven committees comprising presidium members and secretaries of the central committee to visit districts and upazilas for reorganising the grassroots before the upazila elections.
AL organising secretary Mesbah Uddin Siraj said that in the meeting they had suggested organisational tour of the upazilas to ensure a single candidate of the party in every upazila election.
‘We also suggested that the upazila parishad polls should be somewhat delayed for the sake of revitalising the grassroots units before the polls,’ he said.
Meeting sources said that Sheikh Hasina had asked the party lawmakers who were elected unopposed or without tough contest in the January 5 polls to keep in touch with the people for averting defeat in the next parliamentary polls whenever it would take place.
The prime minister asked the party leaders to be cautious while making statements before the media.
Addressing the meeting, the ALC WC members urged the party president to take steps for proper monitoring of the sources of the funds of Jamaat-e-Islami.
The prime minister told the meeting that her government’s first task was to save the country from the hands of extremists and terrorists.
‘Our main task is to stop all types of extremism and terrorism at any cost. We will be tough as much as it takes to stop terrorist and militant activities and maintain peace which we had restored after the 2008 general elections,’ she said adding that the government had already taken measures to curb terrorism. 
Hasina, also the Awami League president, said the BNP-Jamaat had tried to push the country to the brink of anarchy killing people in the name of movement to foil the January 5 polls instead of participating in it.
‘But the BNP-Jamaat failed to resist the polls as their movement did not have popular support. Ignoring all threats and obstacles created by them, people came to the polling stations and cast votes….the turnout was 40-50 per cent,’ she said.
The prime minister said that for the first time in the country’s history transfer of power had taken place from an elected government to another elected government through the January 5 general elections.
About the attacks carried out by the BNP-Jamaat on the Hindus in the aftermath of the elections, the prime minister recalled similar attacks after the 2001 polls and said that the intensity of such attacks would have been much greater had the BNP-Jamaat come to power through the January 5 elections.
She said that the government had already taken steps to compensate the victims of attacks and rehabilitate them by rebuilding their houses. 
About the politics of Jamaat, Hasina said that there was a ban on Jamaat after the country’s independence but it was Ziaur Rahman, who had allowed Jamaat to do politics in Bangladesh again.
The prime minister reiterated that her government would work for turning Bangladesh into a middle-income nation by 2021 and a developed one by 2041.
Saturday’s AL central working committee meeting was the first one after the formation of the government by the party.
ALC WC members Mahbubul Alam Hanif, Hasan Mahmud, Misbah Uddin Siraj and Khairuzzaman Liton, among others, spoke at the meeting.

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