Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said how the BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) has a dream of coming to power again, referring to 2008 general election which was accepted by all and the BNP-Jamaat (Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami) alliance had got only 30 seats.

“How BNP dreams of going to the power again with the people’s vote,” she said while presiding over a meeting of the Awami League Working Committee (ALWC) in her official residence, Ganabhaban, in the capital city in evening.

The prime minister said the 2008 general election was held in a credible and fair manner and none could raise any question about the election.

She said the AL-led grand alliance had achieved landslide victory in the election while the BNP-led alliance only got 30 seats.

“Is BNP doing anything better for the country and its people through which they will build confidence and earn trust of the people for them which would send the party power again?” she posed a question.

She said since its inception BNP has been playing ducks and drakes with the people’s voting rights, referring to Ziaur Rahman’s farcical “yes/no vote” and parliamentary election to hang on to the power which he grabbed illegally after violating the country’s constitution.

Is BNP doing anything better for the country and its people through which they will build confidence and earn trust of the people for them which would send the party power again?
Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh prime minister

Sheikh Hasina further said Ziaur Rahman’s wife Khaleda Zia had also held farcical election on 15 February in 1996 in which no political party took part in the polls.

The people of the country toppled the BNP government through movement within one and a half month of the election as the people of the country never accepted vote rigging, she said.

She also added that there was an attempt to hold a general election in 2006 with a voter list of having 12.3 million fake voters which was cancelled.

But, the Awami League always comes to the power with the people’s mandate, she said.

AL general secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, presidium members Begum Matia Chowdhury, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim and Kazia Zafarullah were present on the dais.

The ALWC meeting was held as part of the preparation to hold 22nd tripartite national council of the party at the historic Suhrawardi Udyan in the capital city on 24 December.

Members of the ALWC joined the meeting.

At the outset of the meeting, the prime minister introduced the newly elected leaders of the Bangladesh Chhatra League, the student wing of Awami League, and Jubo Mohila League, the young women activists’ front of the party.

Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina addresses a meeting of the Awami League Working Committee in her official residence, Ganabhaban, Dhaka on 22 December 2022

Earlier, the newly elected leaders of the two organisations greeted the prime minister with presenting bouquets at the Ganabhaban, PM’s deputy press secretary KM Shakhawat Moon told newspersons.

Sheikh Hasina said her party would come to the state power time and again through the people’s mandate after winning the confidence and trust of the people.

“Awami League never comes to power without vote and support of the people. None helped Awami League to assume power through martial law,” she said.

She said AL is the only party in the country’s history which handed over power to then caretaker government peacefully maintaining the country’s constitutional process after completing its five-year tenure in 2001.

The prime minister also said her party never wants that any undemocratic force would come to power and hinder the country’s democratic process.

Sheikh Hasina said the AL is the party of the people as it was formed by the masses while the BNP was formed from the pocket of a military dictator and it did nothing for the nation, rather they made their own fortunes.

Whenever the Awami League assumes power, it has changed the people’s fortune with conducting massive development of the country to give them a beautiful and delicate life, she said.

On the contrary, she said that the BNP-Jamaat alliance government had given the countrymen terrorism, militancy, corruption and money laundering.

The AL president said why the people will vote to the BNP as their top leaders including Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman were convicted in many criminal cases.

Tarique Rahman was convicted in the 10-truck arms haul case, 21 August, 2004 grenade attack case and money laundering case while Khaleda Zia was sentenced for embezzling orphan’s money, she added.

The prime minister said Tarique Zia is now conspiring against the state staying abroad by spending illegal money that siphoned off abroad.

The BNP-Jamaat alliance had initiated the culture of killing and injuring people with arson attacks in the name of movement to topple the Awami League government, she added.

‘Intellectually disabled intellectuals’

The prime minister came down heavily on the so-called intellectuals whom she described as “intellectually disabled intellectuals” as they are plotting to dislodge a democratic or legal government like the AL government aimed at bringing an undemocratic or illegal government.

“How do the people, who have conscience and humanity, support arson terrorists?” she questioned.

Comparing the development statistics during the AL and the BNP government, Sheikh Hasina said the country always march forward whenever her party comes to power while the country goes behind when BNP assumes power.

The prime minister said per capita income was over $300 in 1996 which is now reached at $2,824.

After assuming power in 1996, she said, the AL government had got only 1,600mw electricity which was increased to 4,300 mw by the then AL government while the food deficit was 4 million tonnes which was made surplus of 2.6 million tonnes at that time.

The prime minister said the AL did not come to the power in 2001 due to conspiracy. After coming to power, the BNP government reduced the electricity generation to 3,000mw while making Bangladesh a food deficit country again from surplus of 2.6 million tonnes, she said.

The country, she said, now generates 25,000MW electricity.