Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina on Friday sought people’s mandate for her party’s election symbol “boat” once again so she could finish all ongoing development activities.
“I seek your votes for ‘boat’ for one more time to end the development activities taken up by the incumbent government,” she said, pledging to free Bangladesh from poverty and hunger within 2021.
Hasina was speaking at a rally organised by the Dhaka city unit of her party at the Suhrawardy Udyan to mark the National Mourning Day.
The mourning day rally eventually turned into a pre-election one as the speeches of all party leaders were polls-centred. The venue also featured posters and banners of ministers, MPs and nomination-seekers while leaflets were distributed.
Although a number of party leaders had earlier said Hasina would announce at the rally an election campaign to start from September 1, the Awami League chief did not make any such announcement.
In her address, the premier recalled her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s memories and vowed to sacrifice her life like her father for the welfare of the country’s people. “I have nothing to gain or lose. My father sacrificed his life for the people, if required I am also ready to sacrifice mine for the sake of people’s welfare,” she said.
Hasina claimed that her government had the only goal to ensure people’s fundamental rights, saying her party wanted to build a Bangladesh free from militancy, hunger and corruption.
“The Awami League always fulfils what it pledges to the nation. People got their own language, independence, the right to voting, and the constitution from the Awami League. No one feels deprived after casting votes for the Awami League,” Hasina said.
She enumerated the development activities taken up by her government and pledged to complete all unfinished activities if her party retained to power again.
Hasina blasted opposition leader and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia for her adamant stance to oust the government through a movement, saying the opposition leader was now trying to protect the war criminals.
“Those who patronise killers, militants and war criminals cannot ensure any welfare for the people. They can only cater corruption, terrorism and killings,” Hasina said, alleging that the BNP was killing innocent people, members of Border Guard Bangladesh and army in the name of movement.
“Whenever the BNP assumes office, it vandalises temples, carries out bomb attacks on religious establishments and sets pagoda on fire…It is their character to patron killers.”
Hasina criticised Khaleda for observing her birthday on August 15, saying the BNP chief did it to hurt her. “She started observing her fake birthday in 1996. Even those who were born on August 15 do not celebrate their birthdays.”
Regarding the war crimes trial, the PM said her party had vowed to start the trial and it had been started and people were now getting verdicts in those trials. “All war criminals will be brought to book and the verdicts will be executed,” she said.
Dhaka city unit Awami League acting president MA Aziz presided over the rally. Party leaders Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, Sahara Khatun, Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, Quamrul Islam, AKM Rahamatullah, Dr Mostofa Jalal Mohiuddin, among others, spoke at the rally.