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AL always assumes power through vote, not by backdoor: PM

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said Awami League never used the backdoor for grabbing power, rather it always assumes state power through elections.

“Awami League (AL) always assumes power through elections. It never grabbed power using the backdoor as AL is not an organisation that was created from the pocket of any military dictator,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina, also the President of ruling party Awami League, made these remarks while delivering her introductory speech in the meeting of Awami League Central Working Committee (ALCWC). She chaired the meeting held at her official residence Ganabhaban.

She said the development of the election process has been made by the AL government as transparent ballot box, voter list with picture and EVM were the demand of her party to ensure the voting rights of mass people.

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“We want that people can apply their voting rights . . . if people don’t vote for us, we wouldn’t come to power,” she said, adding that AL was always kept aside from power through conspiracy repeatedly.

Mentioning that AL is the party of land and mass people, she said this party always works for the welfare of the masses.

The Prime Minister thanked the people of the country for putting Awami League in power repeatedly by casting their votes in favour of the party.

“Due to this, the country witnessed huge development in the last 13 years, the living standard of the people has been increased as AL is the party of people and soil of this country,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said after assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975, Ziaur Rahman had started the culture of vote rigging in the country violating Army Rules and the Constitution through grabbing power.

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And in this way duck and drake had been played with the fate of the people of Bangladesh, she observed.

Awami League, she said, has never been behind in terms of the percentage of votes, but there have been repeated conspiracies to keep the party away from power.

“Enemies can never do harm unless the enemy of house can harm, which is a reality,” she said, adding that “in case of Awami League it has always been happened and it is the most unfortunate and sad issue.”

The premier said Awami League moved ahead amid conspiracies, strengthening the organisation and worked always with specific goals to “bring smile on the face of the people in miseries as dreamt by Bangabandhu.

Sheikh Hasina questioned the legitimacy of BNP leadership as “both (Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman) are convicted for corruption . . . ten-truck arms case, August 21 grenade attack, siphoning off orphan’s money and others misdeeds”.

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“Rightists, leftists and extreme leftists now have joined with them,” she said.

The premier also criticised a section of “ultra-learned” men who always look to foreigners “as if they will install them to the state power”.

“They defame the country, some of them staying abroad,” she said.

Laying emphasis on strengthening the party further as polls is coming nearer, she said that Awami League always holds the council regularly.

Talking about the move of the BNP-Jamaat clique and their alliances to oust the government from the state power, the prime minister said, “What is the fault of the Awami League and in which area we have failed?”

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The head of government said that her government has put importance on the development of the rural areas since 2009. “As a result, the infrastructures of the rural areas have been improved a lot and people could go to their village homes smoothly,” she said.

In this connection, Sheikh Hasina said that this year people traveled to their villages on a hassle-free manner to celebrate the Eid-Ul-Fitr with their near and dear ones. She thanked the communications minister to this end.

“This move has increased money circulation in the rural areas which is beneficial for the country’s economy though such trend has been decreased in the world,” she said.

The premier said that Bangladesh now became the role model of development in the world. “We will follow our own path to develop the country and will move around the world keeping our heads high,” she said.

Mentioning that the government has handed over some 33,000 houses just before the Eid, she vowed to arrange houses for all homeless people of the country as they would hand over another 34,000 houses in next July and later the remaining 45,000 houses.

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Referring to the socio-economic development of the country during the tenure of the AL government, Sheikh Hasina said the country has reached the status of developing country, per capita income has increased and poverty has been reduced from 40 percent to 20 percent.

She continued that you people will find in the upcoming census report that poverty has been reduced in such a way that the world will be surprised.

In the wake of the Ukraine-Russia war, the premier said that global commodity prices have increased, but the price in the country has not hiked in such a way due to quick and effective measures of the government.

She said that various developed countries have witnessed around 10 percent inflation while it is 17 percent in other European countries and the United States pondering that their inflation will be 10 percent in the future.

Mentioning that as edible oil is not available, Sheikh Hasina said a rationing system has been introduced in London where none could buy more than one liter.

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The war (Ukraine-Russia) has pushed the freight charge higher severely while the goods that used to be imported in the country are becoming unavailable.

So, all of you have to consider these new challenges, she added.

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Politics

Vast majority of Bangladeshis want good relations with neighbours: FM tells South Asia Correspondents

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Foreign Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud has said the vast majority of the people of Bangladesh now understand that it should have good relations with neighbours – for its own prosperity as well as that of the region.

He said his party (Bangladesh Awami League) is painted as a ‘pro-Indian’ party but AL is a pro-Bangladeshi party.

“There are anti-Indian elements. We specifically see this issue during elections. But the anti-Indian sentiment is gradually diminishing in Bangladesh,” he told the members of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of South Asia during an interaction in New Delhi on February 9.

The Foreign Minister said the tablet or capsule of blaming Awami League as a pro-India party does not work anymore like the past.

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“Today, the vast majority of the people understand that for the prosperity of Bangladesh and the region, neighbours should have good relations,” he said while responding to a question.

Asked about balancing relations, the Foreign Minister said Bangladesh-India relationship is not comparable to any other relations.

“Bangladesh’s relations with India are bonded by blood and shared sacrifice during the War of Liberation in 1971,” Hasan said.

He said although China is not Bangladesh’s immediate neighbor but it is a neighbor and a development partner of Bangladesh.

The Foreign Minister said they face a lot of challenges due to the wave of fake news. He said this is a problem even in Europe and shared how fake news was spread during Covid-19.

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He mentioned that this is an area where all need to work together. “We can work together to fight against fake news.”

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Last national election was open for all AL members for sake of democracy: PM Hasina

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday (9 Februay) said if she did not allow her party members to take part in last month’s election as independent candidates the democracy of the country would have been snatched away.

“If the election was not open for all (AL members), then not only the election would have been stained, the democracy of the country would have been hijacked too,” she said.

The prime minister was delivering her introductory speech at the extended meeting of Awami League at her official residence Ganabhaban.

This election was important to maintain the country’s status as a developing country, she said.

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“We should not forget the election manifesto that we announced before the election to retain this achievement. Every year during the budget formulation we follow the election manifesto,” she said.

Hasina, also the chief of ruling Awami League, said that her party has also opened the upcoming upazila elections for all her party members to make it participatory.

“It will also be scrutinised how much work has been done for the common people in the last 15 years while in power, and who could not deliver. Through it we will see who is accepted by the people,” she said.

She issued warning against any sort of confrontation in the upcoming local government elections.

“We do not want any kind of confrontation. Stern actions will be taken against the individuals responsible for it no matter who they are,” she said.

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Claiming that the 12th parliamentary election was free, fair and impartial, Hasina said that those who want to dispute the election, they must give clear evidence.

She said that elections have been held in many developed countries of the world, but these are yet to be accepted by their opponents.

“Even the post-election violence has resulted in murders. But the election in Bangladesh was very fair. Public administration, the armed forces, law and order enforcement and all those involved in the election have performed their duties impartially,” she claimed

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Political crisis nearing climax: Rizvi

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The BNP today said the country’s long-standing political crisis is now nearing its climax as people are taking to the streets risking their lives to resist a one-sided election.

“The chief election commissioner surrendered to Sheikh Hasina instead of protecting the interests of the people and taking proper steps to ensure a free, fair, and participatory election,” Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, senior joint secretary general of the party, said in a virtual press conference.

The BNP leader alleged that the EC announced the schedule for the next election ignoring the continuous movement for free and fair elections.

Rizvi also alleged that the commission announced the election schedule on the instruction of the government, ignoring the appeals of the country’s civil society, the international community, and foreign diplomats.

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“When the CEC announced the schedule, he should have also mentioned the time of voting, whether it will be at night, or during the daytime, or early morning.”

The BNP leader said the government has established a regime where those who demand free and fair elections are being attacked.

He said their ongoing movement to restore the power and rights of the people will be a warning for all the autocrats.

Rizvi said the BNP leaders and activists are being arrested indiscriminately. “If they [law enforcers] can’t detain them, they are arresting their fathers, fathers-in-law, younger brothers, and even women in the house.”

He said law enforcers arrested more than 12,900 leaders and activists in 289 cases across the country since October 28.

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