Making it clear that the next general election will be held as per the Constitution, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has expressed high optimism that all the parties registered with the Election Commission will take part in it upholding the country's democratic process.
"As per the Constitution, the 11th parliamentary elections will be held at the end of 2018. An election-time government will also be formed as per the Constitution which will provide all-out cooperation to the Election Commission to conduct the election," she said on Friday.
The prime minister’s remarks came in a national address marking the completion of her administration’s four years in office after the 2014 national polls.
The speech was simultaneously broadcast by Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Betar as well as private TV channels and radio stations in the evening.
Hasina in her around 27-minute speech said the president constituted the new Election Commission as per the recommendations of a search committee and the commission has already gained people's confidence through conducting some local government elections, including the ones to two city corporations, in a fair manner.
She, however, expressed her apprehension that vested quarters might try to create an anarchic situation in the country over the next election.
The prime minister also warned that people will not accept the loss of lives and property in the name of a movement boycotting the election.
After losing the eighth parliamentary elections to BNP, five years later, Awami League had won the ninth national polls in 2009 bagging three-fourth of the seats in the parliament.
With BNP and its allies boycotting of the 10th general election, Awami League came to power for the second consecutive term on January 5, 2014.
The Awami League-led alliance took the oath of office on January 12 that year. Friday marked the completion of the fourth year of the government.
Describing people as the county's owners, Hasina asked them to determine their goals. "You have to decide what you want to see -- advancement of the country or backward march of Bangladesh. Think for a moment what was the position of the country 10 years back," she said.
Throwing a question to people, she said: "Don't you want to educate your children with quality education and make them self-dependent? Don't you want electricity in all houses, development of roads in all villages, foods in all houses and peaceful life?"
"We don't want to be identified as poor after 47 years of independence. We want to live as a dignified nation keeping our heads high in the world. If these are your desires, we're always beside you," Hasina said.
Evaluating past, moving ahead
The prime minister said the government is determined to make the country a middle-income one by 2021 country while a developed and prosperous one by 2041. "We aren't sitting idle just setting our aims but we're implementing necessary programmes.”
She mentioned that the government does not want to stick to the past, but will not surely forget the past. "We'll step forward evaluating successes and failures of the past and correcting the wrong and errors," she added.
Hasina mentioned that the country is heading forward through the highway of development and there is no scope of looking back from there.
Hasina urged all irrespective of parties and opinions to build a developed, happy and prosperous Bangladesh unitedly.
"Bangladesh is marching forward and the march will continue. The next generation will get a prosperous Bangladesh. I'm urging the people the country to walk through the path of development remaining alert so that its march is not hampered," she said.
Pointing out the unbridled corruption, money-laundering and looting of public money as well as killing, torture and other destructive activities unleashed by the then BNP-Jamaat government, Hasina said they gave a rise to terrorism, militancy and Bangla Bhai, and carried out serial bombings at 500 places of 63 districts together.
She said the BNP-Jamaat nexus also indiscriminately killed and burnt people, torched houses and set fire to the Quran in the name of a movement to foil the election. "Some 500 innocent people were killed, and 3,500 vehicles, 29 trains and nine launches were burnt."
Assuming office in 2009, the prime minister said the government first fixed short, medium and long-term plans as well as some five-year plans and a 10-year perspective plan, and it has been implementing the initiatives for the country's welfare.
Her party had been able to form government again in 2014 which enabled it to maintain the continuation of development pace, she said adding that Bangladesh is becoming a prosperous country as her government got opportunity to serve the nation continuously for the last nine years.
The progresses made so far
During her speech on Friday, Sheikh Hasina mentioned that Bangladesh has already achieved the status of a low-middle income country, while its per capita income reached $1610 and the volume of its GDP to Tk1,975,817 crore.
Besides, the country's growth is 7.28% this year and the poverty rate was reduced to 22% from 41% in 2005, she said.
She said verdicts against the war criminals and the killers of Bangabandhu have been executed and the trial of the BDR mutiny has been completed.
The government also successfully contained terrorism and militancy in an iron hand, she said, adding that mass awareness is also being created against such social menaces.
Hasina said her government wants to develop Bangladesh as a rich country and is implementing a number of mega projects to this end.
She said half of the work on the Padma Bridge has been completed while work on the Dhaka Metro Rail and Elevated Expressway is progressing. "The entire country is being brought under the railway network and a tunnel is being constructed under the Karnaphuli River."
Also, a nuclear power plant is being set up at Rooppur of Pabna while Bangabandhu Satellite will be launched into the orbit very soon and Payra Port is being constructed in Patuakhali, Hasina said.
The work on the coal-based power plants at Matarbari and Rampal is going on, she said, adding that it has been possible to make blue economy effective following the settlement of the maritime disputes with India and Myanmar.
The prime minister also elaborated her government's massive successes in education, health, communication, power and ICT sector.
She said the government is providing free textbooks to students on the first day of the year, achieved the capacity to generate 16,350 MW electricity and reached electricity to 83% of the population.
About the step of her government in establishing 100 special economic zones across the country, Hasina expressed her firm optimism that no one will remain poor in Bangladesh in near future.