Mentioning that her government believes in democracy and people’s right to vote, Sheikh Hasina said the people will vote to elect the candidate by their choice who will work for them.

“Because, the people never do any mistake . . . that is why we do everything keeping confidence in people,” she said.

Expressing thanks to the election commission (EC) and the law enforcement agencies for holding free and fair elections in NCC, she said through this poll, the people have exercised their voting rights and elected the candidates of their choice.

The prime minister also congratulated all the people of Bangladesh, especially in Narayanganj, as the NCC poll appeared as a great example.

She also extended her gratitude to the people of Narayanganj for electing her party’s candidate by voting in the symbol of “Boat”.

Sheikh Hasina, also the president of Awami League, however, directed the elected representatives to act responsibly towards the people without thinking of their own pleasures.

She said the BNP always spreads propaganda because the party leaders don’t see their faces in the mirror.

At the function, local government, rural development (LGRD) and cooperatives minister Md Tazul Islam also administered the oath to the newly-elected 36 councillors, including nine councillors of reserved seats present in-person at the swearing-in ceremony.

The NCC election was held on 16 January as Awami League candidate Selina Hayat Ivy was elected mayor for the third consecutive term.

She beat her nearest rival Taimur Alam Khondker by 66,535 votes in the election.

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Ivy, with the symbol “Boat”, secured 159,097 votes to win against independent aspirant Taimur Alam Khandakar, who bagged 92,166 votes with the “Elephant” symbol.

The prime minister said her government is steering the country towards the economic prosperity keeping the rights of people well-protected.

Awami League always believes in democracy and the voting rights of people, she said, adding that her government is in power winning the trust and confidence of people.

She continued, “The democratic process has been continuing for the last 13 years. As a result, the country has won the status of developing nation, while the per capita income has increased to $ 2591, and the GDP now stands at 6.94 per cent defying the adverse impacts of Covid-19 pandemic.”

Sheikh Hasina said the Covid-19 induced recession has affected the whole world, including many developed nations “but Bangladesh has been able to keep its economic wheel rolling out, and became the developing country”.

She urged the elected public representatives to value the trust and confidence of the people that they reposed in them.

“Don’t forget the pledges that you made to people. Work for the welfare of the people. The people are now conscious. Perform your duties keeping that in mind,” she added.

She asked the elected NCC mayor and councillors to continue the development spree running under this government.

The prime minister said, “Narayanganj is just next to Dhaka. This is a very important city. We’ve taken so many plans and projects. Make sure that those are implemented properly . . . keep up the momentum.”

She said her government has adopted long-term Vision 2041, Perspective Plan and Delta Plan 2100 while talking about the country’s future.

“Generations after generations will be able to continue the development process of the country. This is how we want to work out plans. Our future generations will have a developed and prosperous life,” she hoped.

The head of the government said she wants to ensure that the people of the country will never be oppressed and repressed by anyone.

Talking about BNP and its leadership, she said the party has no leadership. She also mentioned that one person is convicted for siphoning off orphans’ money while another is convicted in 10-truck arms smuggling, 21 August grenade attack, corruption cases, and now living abroad as a fugitive.

Without mentioning the name of Khaleda Zia, the prime minister said the government, out of its compassion, has given her a scope to stay at her home.

About the fugitive Tarique Rahman, the acting chairperson of the BNP, Sheikh Hasina said he had given a bond not to do any politics in the future and went abroad during the caretaker government.

“Why will people cast their votes for a party, the chairperson of which is a convicted fugitive and staying abroad? How can they expect?” she added.

“They (BNP) never want election, they don’t understand election, they know how to rig votes, they don’t know how to motivate voters as they don’t believe in the voting rights of people. It’s the reality,” she continued.

Reacting to the BNP’s criticism over the election, she said the party was not in the habit of seeking votes, rather they have habit of snatching and stealing. “So they don’t understand the meaning of democracy, they don’t understand the meaning of people’s rights, and they don’t have that education,” she said.

She added that “they (BNP) understand terrorism, corruption and militancy. They can create Bangla Bhai, they can kill people.”

After the assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members on 15 August 1975, the prime minister said that the people of the country did not have the right to vote.

She said, “Ziaur Rahman’s ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ vote in 1977, the presidential election in 1978, the parliamentary election of 1979 and the presidential election of 1981 were all farce. People did not have the right to vote.”

The prime minister said the biggest thing for a political leader is to work for the people’s interest without looking after his own interest.

“The main thing of a leader was that, how much I was able to give to the people and how much I was able to do for people. As much as you can give, it’s your satisfaction,” she added. “If you want to be a political leader, you have to work for the people.”

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