Prime Minister and Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina on Sunday once again sought vote for her party’s election symbol ‘boat’ to save the country and its people from the fury of the killers and war criminals.
“We want your blessings and cooperation so that the war criminals and killers can’t play ducks and drakes with the fate of Bangladeshi people after coming to power again,” she said.
The Prime Minister was addressing as the chief guest a grand rally of thousands that turned into a human sea at the historical Polo Ground of Chattogram city on Sunday afternoon.
“Before leaving, I want a promise from you that you will vote for boat in the next election as you did in the past and give us the scope to serve you. Raise your hand and say you will vote for the boat,” she said.
The Prime Minister said all should be united as the Jamaat-BNP, the political parties of war criminals, killers of Father of the Nation and their patrons still do politics on the soil of Bangladesh and they may come to power again.
At the grand rally organised by the Chattogram city, north and south district units of the AL, Sheikh Hasina also inaugurated 29 development projects and laid foundation stones of six other schemes to ensure overall development of Chattogram and described those as gifts from her government.
After inaugurating and laying foundation stones of the projects, she said, “All these development projects are gifts from mine,” adding that the Awami League is the only government which has carried out tremendous development of the port city.
Sheikh Hasina said BNP doesn’t want the election as its leaders know well that the people of the country will not vote for the killers.
“People will not vote for the killers if the election is held. So, they don’t want an election. They want something which will help them assume power (violating the country’s laws and democratic process) after dislodging the Awami League government and this is the reality. They never bother people’s desires,” she said.
Referring to the killing of innocent people by carrying out arson attacks in the name of movement from 2013-15 in which over 3000 people were injured and 500 others burned to death, she said, “Can anyone having minimum humanity kill people in such a brutal way?”
She added: “The movement of the BNP means killing people. BNP has two virtues - killing of people and rigging vote.”
The BNP never liked the democratic process for changing the government as its founder military dictator Ziaur Rahman captured the state power illegally after violating the country’s constitution and killing hundreds of military officers and soldiers alongside Awami League leaders and workers to secure his stay in power.
His (Zia’s) wife Khaleda Zia also killed thousands of AL leaders and workers and hid their bodies, she said, adding that the BNP had conducted inhuman torture on the AL leaders and supporters after assuming power in 2001 by giving a bond of selling country’s gas.
Under the patronage of the BNP-Jamaat alliance government, Khaleda Zia and Tarique Zia, she said the August 21, 2004 grenade attack was carried out at the anti-terrorism AL rally to kill her and front ranking leaders of her party.
“I was saved by forming a human shield by the AL leaders. Such heinous attacks cannot take place without state patronage,” she said.
The BNP-Jamaat alliance had given nothing to the people rather gave them an insecure life by patronising terrorism and militancy in the country, she said. “So, we have to save the country from the killers and grenade attackers,” she added.
Referring to arranging treatment for the people who received severe burn injuries in the BNP’s arson attack and giving compensation to the owners whose vehicles were damaged in the arson attacks, she said they have done everything to compensate the people.
“They (BNP-Jamaat) have damaged, but we create. They have done harm to the masses, but we work for their welfare. The war criminals and killers are on their side while the pro-liberation forces are on our side. This is the clear distinction between the politics of the Awami League and BNP,” she added.
When she got on the boat-shaped stage after 3pm, the mammoth gathering welcomed the Awami League president roaring with claps and chanting slogans when she got on the boat-shaped stage while she replied by waving hands.
Not only the Polo Ground, but also its surrounding areas such as Tiger Pass, Lalkhan Bazar, Kazir Dewri and New Market areas was full to the brim as the people as well as the AL leaders and activists started assembling the venue with colourful processions from early in the morning to have a glimpse of Sheikh Hasina as she addressed a public gathering after a long time.
The Prime Minister earlier reached Chattogram at 10 in the morning on a day-long visit to join several programmes including the rally as part of her party's election campaign that started from Jashore to drum up public support in favour of them.
The next public meeting is scheduled to be held at the Sheikh Kamal International Stadium in Cox's Bazar on December 7.
At the Chattogram rally, Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, its Presidium Members Engineer Mosharraf Hossain, Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Abdur Rahman, and Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, Bir Bikram, Joint General Secretaries, Mahbub-ul Alam Hanif, Information and Broadcasting Minister, Dr Hasan Mahmud and AFM Bahauddin Nasim and Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan, among others, spoke at the rally.
Chattogram City Awami League Acting President Mahtab Uddin Chowdhury presided over the meeting while former Chattogram City Corporation Mayor AJM Nasir Udding moderated it.
Sheikh Hasina said after losing her father, mother and brothers, she had returned to the country risking her life despite knowing that the war criminals and patrons of her father’s killers were roaming freely and they could kill her, with a target to give the people a beautiful and improved life by ensuring food, accommodation, treatment and education.
The Prime Minister sought blessing from the masses to build the country in such a way as it can roam across the globe keeping its head high being a victorious nation in the Liberation War against the Pakistani occupation forces.
She said her government has been working to develop every area across the country to make sure the country’s overall development and Bangladesh has achieved the status of a developing country due to the tireless efforts of her government.
“The country’s overall development has been possible as her government was in power following the democratic process from 2009 till the date and Bangladesh is now becoming a developed country,” she said.
Her government’s target is to transform Bangladesh into a developed and prosperous country by 2041, she said.
She assured all that Bangladesh would never fall in any crisis including the food insufficiency as the country has enough stock of food although many countries including the rich nations have been going through the problem due to the Russia-Ukraine war and the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Prime Minister reiterated her call to all for bringing every inch of their land under cultivation to avoid any food crisis as many international organisations have forecasted that the world is going to suffer from food crisis and famine if the war lingers.
Responding to the rumour over foreign reserve and liquidity in the banks, Sheikh Hasina said there is no problem over those as the current reserve of the foreign currency is 36 billion USD while the liquidity in the banks is good enough.
“So, don’t pay heed to the rumour spread by the BNP and Jamaat clique as they like to mislead the people through spreading the rumour,” she said.
But, she asked for caution from the countrymen over withdrawing money from the banks and keeping it home creating a scope for the thieves to steal.
The Prime Minister assured the countrymen that they will arrange everything for their wellbeing, saying, “But you have to be economical in using electricity, water and gas.”