Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday told the Jatiya Sangsad (JS) that no force has been created yet in Bangladesh that can topple the Awami League government as the root of the party is very deep.
“In Bangladesh, no force has emerged as yet, which can oust the Awami League government,” she said, replying to a supplementary question from Jatiya Party lawmaker Fakhrul Imam.
Sheikh Hasina, also the president of ruling Awami League (AL), said AL is a party that wasn’t born from the pocket of any illegal power-grabber and military dictator, rather its birth was from the soil and the people of this country.
“So, our roots have deepened very much inside the soil,” she added.
The Leader of the House mentioned that Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Ziaur Rahman, Gen Ershad and Khaleda Zia tried to destroy the Awami League but failed, she said, adding: “They would never be able to do so – Inshallah.”
“When Awami League is in power, it means the government serves the people and changes the fate of the people,” she said, asking all to remember what the condition of Bangladesh was 14 years ago.
In the question, Fakhrul Imam said today is the one-eleven (political changeover in 2007) day and asked the prime minister if she thinks it is now time to reach a political agreement by all parties although there is no possibility that the country would witness another one-eleven like political changeover due to her witty leadership.
The prime minister said that those who polluted the election, utterly destroyed the electoral process, snatched away the voting rights of the people and played ducks and drakes with the fate of the people are now raising questions over the polls.
They (BNP and allies) have been able to make it questionable by carrying out different campaigns and propaganda . . . But the people still have trust and confidence in the Awami League
“What right do they have to raise questions (regarding election)? ... If we analyse every election, we see that the people can vote peacefully as only Awami League is in power,” she said.
She added that the people vote for Awami League spontaneously because they know Awami League keeps the promises whatever it makes. “We keep our word.”
The prime minister further said that they can say as much as they can do and ensure service for the people after doing it. “It is the Awami League.”
She said BNP didn’t join the 2014 general election as the party knew that they secured only 30 seats in the 2008 election and the country witnessed an unprecedented development due to the steps taken by the grand alliance government.
“So, the people bestowed their trust and confidence on us and voted for us. They (BNP) boycotted the election,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said that BNP apparently stood aside from the 2018 election midway due to nomination business and tried to make the polls questionable.
“They (BNP and allies) have been able to make it questionable by carrying out different campaigns and propaganda . . . But the people still have trust and confidence in the Awami League,” she added.
Pointing at Fakhrul Imam, Sheikh Hasina said there is nothing to be fearful. “Don’t be scared. We’re still here (in power). There is nothing to be worried about,” she added.
In reply to another supplementary question from AL lawmaker Dhirendra Debnath Shambhu, the prime minister said the government would take tougher action, if necessary, against the hoarders of commodities and black marketers in order to ease the sufferings of consumers.
What right do they have to raise questions (regarding election)? ... If we analyse every election, we see that the people can vote peacefully as only Awami League is in power
She said the matter is really unfortunate here in Bangladesh that the businessmen try to enhance the commodity prices anyhow during the holy month of Ramadan and other festivals when their demands go higher. But in other countries, the prices of commodities are always reduced during any festivals, she said.
She said that the businessmen are dilly-dallying in importing commodities in many cases as they want to make profit by increasing the prices and demand of goods. “It is inhumane,” she added.
“We’re taking proper actions against the hoarders, black-marketers and those who are engaged in LC-related anomalies ... If needed, we’ll take tougher actions and we will pay special attention so that people won’t suffer,” she asserted.
Responding to another supplementary question from AL lawmaker Ahasanul Islam (Titu), the prime minister said the government is taking steps to ensure proper supply of commodities during the upcoming Ramadan.
“We want the people of our country not to suffer during Ramadan,” she said.
She also said the government has made arrangements to open LCs for importing essential consumer goods from different countries, adding that there is no problem in opening LCs for importing food items at proper prices.
Answering another query from Gonoforum lawmaker Mukabbir Khan, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina outright rejected the allegations of corruption in various megaprojects and threw a challenge to place clear statistics - where and how much money was lost due to corruption.
“The allegations he raised are completely baseless. . . I am throwing a challenge to the lawmaker. He will have to say clearly here about where and what amount (of money) was lost due to corruption and I will answer to those,” she said.
Mukabbir in his question raised allegations of corruption in megaprojects and quick rental power plants.
Vision of ‘Smart Bangladesh’ by 2041
The prime minister also told parliament that the ruling Bangladesh Awami League’s vision is to transform every village into a township alongside building the country as “Smart Bangladesh” by 2041.
“If Bangladesh Awami League forms the government again, our vision is to build ‘Smart Bangladesh’ by 2041,” she said, replying to a starred question from Jatiya Party lawmaker Rustum Ali Faraji of Pirojpur-3 constituency.
The ‘Smart Bangladesh’ will be based on smart citizens, smart economy, smart government and smart society, she added.
The Leader of the House said that Awami League’s ‘Election Manifesto-2018: Bangladesh on the Journey to Prosperity’ which was presented before the nation on the eve of the 11th national parliamentary elections outlined plans for building a “prosperous and developed Bangladesh by 2041” and a “safe delta” by 2100.
As the first step in the journey of a developed Bangladesh, she said, the country has already become a developing one from the least developed country.
Sheikh Hasina said that Bangladesh will become an upper middle income country by 2031 with average per capita income of above US$ 5,906 and a developed country in 2041 with per capita income of above US$ 12,500.
Mentioning that currently Bangladesh’s GDP growth rate is 7.25 per cent, she said that their target is to raise the rate to 8.51 per cent in 2025, 9.0 per cent in 2031 and 9.9 per cent in 2041.
In order to materialise the vision, she said, different short, medium and long-term plans will be taken.
She also stated that the plans which now are under consideration include the 2nd Perspective Plan 2021-2041 to build a ‘Smart Bangladesh’ in the line with the Vision-2041, Bangladesh Delta Plan-2100 to build smart delta, 9th five-year plan (2026-2030), 10th five-year plan (2031-2035) and 11th five year plan (2036-2040).
The head of government also said that the agricultural production would be raised by promoting agricultural mechanisation; small, cottage, medium and large industries would be developed; all projects undertaken for road, sea, rail and air connectivity would be completed; a massive employment would be generated by ensuring local and foreign investment in 100 economic zones, and steps would be taken emphasising agriculture and food processing industries.
She also said the production of digital devices would be increased and the local market for the devices would be expanded by increasing the purchasing power of the people of Bangladesh alongside finding new overseas markets for the items.
Sheikh Hasina said the overall living standard of all the people of Bangladesh will be improved by ensuring the basic needs of people - clothing, shelter, education and medicare - up to the grassroots level in the country.
“A developed golden Bangladesh will be built by transforming every village into a township,” she said, adding that the detailed plans will be published in the next election manifesto in time.