Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said that on February 15, 1996, Khaleda Zia declared herself prime minister through vote rigging.
“But the people of Bangladesh did not accept this vote rigging. People of this country did not accept that (election). At that time, there was a mass upsurge and movement. Khaleda Zia was compelled to resign on March 30, 1996,” she said.
The ruling party chief was delivering her inaugural speech at the 22nd national council of the country’s oldest political party — aiming to elect new leadership.
She said that the government has empowered the Election Commission to work independently.
Briefly describing various government initiatives to strengthen the Election Commission, the PM said if AL had ill motives to hold an election like that by the Khaleda Zia government on February 15, 1996, it would have formed an Election Commission like the “MA Aziz Commission”.
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“But we did not do that. We have confidence in the people. And we work based on that trust and confidence,” she said.
The Prime Minister said that Awami League ensured people’s voting rights, which is also a constitutional right of a citizen.
“We enacted a law for the appointment of the Election Commission. We made the whole process transparent.”
Regarding use of EVM, she said that she does not know if there is any scope to manipulate the system.
Talking about allegations of corruption in the Padma Bridge project, she said that she joined politics to serve the country and the people, not to take anything. “For that reason, as Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s daughter, I can’t accept tarnishing the image of Bangladesh.”
The Prime Minister said Awami League will march ahead to turn Bangladesh into a developed and prosperous country, facing all attacks, and none can take the country back to where it was.
She said that the history of Bangladesh is witness that only Awami League can take the country forward.
Referring to the speech of the Father of the Nation, she said, struggles of Awami League will end on the day when it can ensure smiles on the faces of the common people.
The Prime Minister said that Bangladesh has become a developing country in the golden jubilee year of independence as her party has been in power continuously since the general election in 2008.
In this regard, she mentioned that skilled manpower are being developed in the country fit to use e-devices to establish Bangladesh as a developed, prosperous and a smart nation in 2041.
Sheikh Hasina said that the government has taken steps to introduce online services like e-economy, e-education and e-health care through the use of IT systems.
For the purpose, IT parks and incubation centers have been set up in the country to develop skilled manpower and create employment for them, she added.
She renewed her call for maintaining austerity in the use of gas, electricity and water as well as stressed the need for increasing food production to face the future crisis.
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While placing AL’s organisational report at its 22nd national council, AL general secretary Obaidul Quader said that Awami League is ready for the next election.
In this regard, he uttered the famous words “khela hobe” (game is on).
Obaidul Quader, also the road, transport and bridges minister, said that the “game” will begin soon against “arson attacks, vote rigging, corruption and Hawa Bhaban conspiracy”.
“Awami League will have to survive to save Bangladesh,” he said.
In this connection, he said that there is no alternative to Sheikh Hasina.
He mentioned that the Prime Minister has been the most popular, courageous, and efficient administrator and diplomat in the last 47 years.
Source: United News of Bangladesh