Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

Governing Awami League president and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday called upon all political parties of the country, including the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), to participate in the upcoming national election, saying that BNP should take part in the polls seeking apology to the nation for committing crimes and arson terrorism.

“The door of election is open to all,” she said while delivering her opening speech at the first meeting of Bangladesh Awami League’s Election Steering Committee at the party’s Dhaka district office at Tejgaon in the city.

Mentioning that the election schedule has been announced, Sheikh Hasina said, “Everyone should come and participate in the election. (All should) go to the people and seek votes for them.”

Speaking about the BNP and Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, especially killing people and causing loss of lives and properties through arson violence and torching vehicles by them, she said, “They should seek apology to the nation for their crimes and then take part in the 12th national parliamentary election.”

Sheikh Hasina, also the chairman of AL’s election steering committee, thanked the election commission for announcing the polls schedule in time following the rules, not getting afraid of the arson violence.

She sought cooperation from the people of the country so that the election can be held in a fair manner on time.

This election is for ensuring the voting rights of the people and formation of a government of their choice, she said, adding, “You, cast vote (in the election) with the slogan - ‘I will cast my vote for whoever I want.”

Pointing at the youth society, Sheikh Hasina said her government has made Digital Bangladesh and now everyone is getting its benefits. Now her government is on an endeavour to make the country as Smart Bangladesh in future. “We hope that we would get their (youth folk) cooperation (to do so),” she said.

She questioned why the people will go to vote for those who killed and plan to kill the common people and why the people will keep trust in them.
The people don’t trust them as they are identified as killers and conspirators, she added.

Noting that election is the right of the people and it is their constitutional right, she said time has come for election and the people will vote.

“If anyone has the courage, they will run in the election,” she said, adding that if they have public support, they will get a mandate.

The Awami League president said the party which is elected by the people in the voting will form the government. They (BNP and Jamaat) are carrying out attacks on the people failing to keep trust in them, she added.

Mentioning that the Awami League government has been running the country with specific plans and economic policy since assuming office in 2009, the prime minister said that grassroots people are the centre of her government’s development plan.

“We’ve been successfully able to bring a radical change in Bangladesh in the last 15 years,” she said, adding that her government has gained public trust and confidence by serving the people since 2009.

She continued: “Since we’ve served the people and ensured their rights, today the people have trust and confidence in the Awami League and us.”

Criticising the Israel bomb attacks on Palestine hospital, particularly women and children, the AL president said her government sent a good amount of medicines and other necessary items for the Palestinian.

Without taking the names of BNP and Jamaat, she in this context blasted the parties for not protesting Israel’s repression on the Palestinians.

She went on: “It’s unfortunate that we hear anything from the parties who kill people resorting to arson violence in this country and grab power illegally. They say nothing.”

In the context of the politics of Bangladesh, the premier noted that now the extreme rightist and extreme leftist parties have joined hands to overthrow her government.

“Now, it is a question who has deviated from its ideology,” she said, adding that now the extreme leftists have no ideology anymore.

The AL chief questioned: “What is our fault that our government would have to be toppled?”

Citing that BNP and its alliance have again started the arson violence, she said, “The people of this Bangladesh will never accept the game with fire.”

“Actually, they (BNP) wanted to spoil the election. But, they won’t be able to thwart this election,” she added.

Terming BNP a headless party, she said since convicted Khaleda Zia and Tarique Zia can’t run the election, they don’t want to join the polls, rather they want to thwart the election.

Criticising vandalism in the garment sector, Sheikh Hasina said no government other than Awami League did anything to raise salary of garment workers in the country.

She said her government has now increased the minimum monthly wage to Tk 12,500, which is a 56 per cent hike, while the workers get a 5 per cent increment in their salary annually. “Even then we’ve witnessed 18-19 factories were vandalised,” she added.