DHAKA, Dec 23, 2016 (BSS)-Describing Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC) elections as free and fair ones, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said the people of Narayanganj have given a befitting reply to the BNP allegations through votes.
"The BNP has been making allegations that free, fair and neutral elections are not possible during the Awami League government. But the people of Narayanganj have given a befitting reply to that allegations by holding the NCC polls free and fair," she said.
The premier added: "The NCC elections were excellent polls and I congratulate and thank the people of Narayanganj as well as Awami League leaders and workers and other concerned for holding the polls in a free, fair and neutral manner."
Sheikh Hasina made the remarks when newly-elected mayor of Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC) Dr Selina Hayat Ivy called on the PM at her official Ganabhaban residence here this evening.
Awami League-backed candidate Dr Ivy registered a landslide victory in Thursday's NCC polls beating her nearest rival BNP's Advocate Shakhawat Hossain by 79,567 votes.
Selina Hayat Ivy also spoke at the function, while AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader was present on the dais. AL Joint Secretary Dr Dipu Moni conducted the function.
Senior leaders of Bangladesh Awami League and its Narayanganj unit leaders were present.
Sheikh Hasina said the election could be held in a free, fair and neutral manner during a political government and her party has proved it.
"We could say that every election during the Awami League government was free and fair ... the people have given votes in all polls and those who got the people's mandate became winners," she said.
The prime minister said she had given directives to all concerned for holding the NCC polls in a free, fair and peaceful manner so that general people could cast vote properly.
Sheikh Hasina said she had confidence and trust in the people of Narayanganj that they would cast vote for boat, the symbol of Awami League, meaning Dr Ivy if they get a chance for giving vote.
"They have given that mandate to Ivy and for this I congratulate and thank them," she said.
The prime minister also extended her heartfelt congratulations to the Election Commission as well as administration and law enforcement agencies for holding the NCC polls peacefully.
"The law enforcement agencies took strict security measures so that the people could exercise of their voting rights without any trouble," she said, adding that the significance of the NCC polls was that a huge number of women and the elderly people, who cannot move, cast vote by riding on wheelchairs.
Regarding the BNP allegations about the NCC elections, the prime minister said they are not getting any words.
"Failing to find out any words, they (BNP) now want judicial enquiry ... they will have to say anything when they didn't get anything," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said BNP won five city corporation polls during the tenure of the previous AL government. "Had those polls been rigged, how they won the elections ... AL did nothing in those elections and we accepted the mandate the people gave," she said.
The premier said the BNP was born through capturing state power and General Zia grabbed that power by violating constitution and promulgating martial law.
She said General Zia had forced President Sayem to declare him (Zia) president at gunpoint.
The prime minister reminded the people about the rigging of votes in different elections held under the BNP rule including the 1979 referendum, presidential and parliamentary polls, 15th February elections in 1996 and 2001 general elections, Magura, Mirpur and Ramna-Tejgaon by-polls.
"The people of the country witnessed those graph-based elections which were rigged and manipulated by the BNP," she said.
Referring to the 15th February rigged polls, the premier said the people of all professions and classes resisted the elections by forging a movement. "In the face of non-cooperation movement of the people, Khaleda Zia had to resign on March 30 in 1996 by taking responsibility of stealing votes," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said she doesn't understand why everybody did forget these incidents. "Why those intellectuals who speak so much on various issues lost their memory," she said.
Pointing to the unbridled corruption, money laundering and emergence of militancy and terrorism and rehabilitation of war criminals during the misrule of the BNP-Jamaat, the prime minister said Khaleda Zia had made two war criminals as ministers.
"Verdicts against the two ministers were announced as war criminals and the judgments were also executed," she said.
"So my question is that how they could expose their face before the nation and how the people could cast vote for the BNP which committed crimes one after another?" she said.
The prime minister said Khaleda Zia and her two sons stole the orphans' money and the BNP leader whitened the black money when she was in power. "From where that money came ... it was certainly stolen money," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the money laundering committed by Khaleda Zia's sons was proved in US court and Singapore court, while the BNP leader unleashed burning and rampage in the name of the movement.
"So I would ask the people that what punishment the BNP leader and her son should face," she said.
The prime minister said when the BNP goes to power, their leaders and workers make their own development by stopping country's uplift. They indulge in corruption, killing and patronizing militancy.
"But when the BNP remains in opposition, they burn people to death in the name of movement. So what rights they have to seek vote?" she asked.
Referring to the burning people to death as well as mindless violence carried out by the BNP in 2013, 2014 and the first three months of 2015, the prime minister said two-year-old baby was not escaped from their atrocities.
"So the people should realize how much the extent of their (BNP) torture would be if they go to power ... they would stop all development activities if they go to power," she said.
Regarding the BNP allegations that cases are being filed against their leaders and workers, Sheikh Hasina said the people should clearly say that "it is much that you are getting scope to speak outside after the way you have burnt people to death .... you should also express gratitude that the people didn't take any revenge
against you for the crimes."
Congratulating the newly-elected NCC mayor, the premier assured her of extending all kinds of cooperation during her tenure.
The prime minister hoped that Selina Hayat Ivy would be able to fulfill hopes and aspirations of the voters of Narayanganj through implementing her election pledges.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Ivy expressed gratitude to Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for nominating her as the party candidate in the election.
She also extended gratitude to the leaders and workers of the party for doing hard works and the people of Narayanganj for giving overwhelming support to her, saying it has now been proven that a free and fair election is only possible under a political party like Awami League.
At the outset of the function, the newly-elected NCC mayor presented a small boat loaded with flowers to the prime minister.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)