Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said that since opposition BNP has a history of tainted polls it has no right now to raise question about election.
“The history of elections during BNP regimes is so much contaminated… they do not have any right to talk about election,” she said while addressing a discussion arranged by Awami League to mark her homecoming from exile in India in 1981.
Held at the party’s central office at 23 Bangabandhu Avenue she joined the programme virtually from her official residence Ganobhaban.
Hasina mentioned how the BNP government rigged the Magura parliamentary bye-election in 1994 to snatch away the victory of her party’s candidate.
The blatant rigging, she said, triggered a popular movement to force Khaleda Zia’s government to quit and hand over power to a neutral caretaker government to hold the parliamentary election.
She also referred to the February 15 parliamentary election Khaleda held in 1996 which was boycotted by the opposition parties and shunned by voters.
Similarly elections were rigged by BNP in 1981 and by Ziaur Rahman in 1977, 1978 and1979, Hasina said.
She said that BNP, knowing quite well that they would suffer a huge defeat in the next general election, is now trying to make it questionable
Hasina also wondered about the leadership of BNP.
“BNP has no leadership at all, all are convicted criminals, it is not possible to win any election by convicted criminals,” she said adding, she has a question regarding BNP’s recent move about the election.
“If people do not respond to their movement, who will be held responsible for that,” she wondered.
She said that the development of the election system was the brainchild of the Awami League. She mentioned about the voters’ list with picture, transparent ballot box and EVM.
“We want to establish the right to vote by the voters. So their (BNP) concern is just meaningless,” she said.
Hasina, also the chief of the ruling Awami League, said her party has been elected by the people. It has returned the voting rights to the people.
“Awami League has returned the people’s democratic right to them. That is its biggest strength and as we are in power by that strength we are working for the people,” she said.
The prime minister said that country’s massive development owes to Awami League because it has been in power for a long time.
She mentioned about the development activities of the Awami League government during the 1996-2001 tenure which were destroyed by the BNP-Jamaat-led government during 2001-2006.
Coming down heavily on the section of intellectuals and economists for their unnecessary criticism based on false information, she said how they could talk foolish like this. “That is my question.”
She mentioned that this section of people is telling that the government has done a grave mistake by implementing the mega projects, like Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant and rail line on Padma Bridge.
“They feel pain while we do anything for Bangladesh. Why are they still bootlickers of Pakistani military rulers? They do not see anything good for Bangladesh, they do not feel good while Bangladesh advances,” she alleged.
Hasina said that mega projects are for the interest and welfare of the people of Bangladesh.
She mentioned that Bangladesh registered unprecedented development as Awami League is in power.
“Can others who were in the power show a single example that they have done for the country or its people or brighten the image of the country? No they can’t, they just made Bangladesh as a nation of beggars,” she said.
She asked the leaders and activists of Awami League to strictly follow the policy and ideology of the party as it is the only one that can give something to the people of the country.
She asked the knowledgeable-intellectual people to come and join politics if they want to run the country.
“Please come to the field, come to the vote, no one will snatch your votes, at least we can say we do not snatch votes, rather we get the votes of the people and will get votes as we work for the people,” Hasina said.
On May 17 the 42nd homecoming day of Sheikh Hasina was observed by the Awami League.
On this day in 1981, she returned to the country after a long exile in India.
Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was brutally killed along with most of his family members on August 15 in 1975. His two daughters – Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana – luckily escaped as they were abroad at that time.
Hasina was elected president of Awami League in her absence in the party’s national council session on February 14-16 in 1981.
Source: United News of Bangladesh