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PM slams BNP for hurricane lamp movement

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today criticised BNP leaders for hurricane lamp movement against the government’s initiative to save power and energy to protect Bangladesh from any future danger due to skyrocketing prices of energy globally for Russia-Ukraine war. 
 
“BNP leaders are carrying out a movement with hurricane (lamp). They will have to be given hurricane to be carried in their hands — give hurricane in their hands,” she said in a slanted expression in Bangla to ridicule someone involving a traditional kerosene-lit lamp widely used until the last century. 
  
The prime minister was addressing a blood donation programme as the chief guest marking the first day of the month of mourning, joining virtually from her official Ganabhaban residence here.
 
Bangladesh Krishak League organised the function on the premises of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi 32 in the capital. 
 
The prime minister said her government has reached power to every house across the country and is now taking precautionary measures to save power and energy. 
 
“We’re taking measures for saving power and energy to protect Bangladesh from any danger in future as even the developed countries like USA and UK and neighbouring India are facing difficulties and focus on saving energy due to the global situation for Russia-Ukraine war,” she added. 
 
Referring to BNP governments’ wholesale looting from the power sector, she said her government is taking measures to save energy for the future not for launching looting like the BNP government. 
 
The premier said the power generation would have been reduced if her government was involved in looting and it is usual, adding, “But the Awami League has maximised the power generation capacity to 24,000MW. 
 
The power generation reduced to 3000MW from 43000MW during the tenure of the BNP government as they were engaged in massive corruption, she said. 

Her government would work to ensure safety and wellbeing of the countrymen, she added. 

Awami League Presidium Members, Begum Matia Chowdhury and Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, Joint General Secretary AFM Bahauddin Nasim, Agriculture and Cooperatives Affairs Secretary Faridunnahar Laily, Organising Secretary Advocate Afzal Hossain, and Office Secretary Biplab Barua, spoke on the occasion.
 
BKL President Samir Chanda presided over the function while its General Secretary Umme Kulsum Smriti moderated it. 
 
At the outset of the programme, a one-minute silence was observed to show due respects to the martyrs of the August 15, 1975 carnage including Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, his wife, three sons and two daughters-in-law.

The prime minister said the entire world has been rattled by the economic debacle due to the Russia-Ukraine war and the Coronavirus and many developed countries have been facing crisis for the reason. 
 
The USA’s inflation rate has increased to 9.1 percent due to the war which was only one percent while the inflation rate in the UK and Netherlands is 9.4 percent and many countries of the Europe have 8.9 percent inflation rates, she said. 
 
“We have been able to keep the inflation rate at 7.5 percent,” she added. 
 
Taking the reality into consideration, the premier reiterated her call to all people to bring every inch of land and every water body under cultivation, saying, “We have to grow our food.”  
 
She asked her party men to pursue the order and inspire people to grow their food using every inch of their land. 
 
Sheikh Hasina, also Awami League President, said BNP leaders are now talking about the electoral process as the people had no voting power during the tenure of the BNP-Jamaat alliance government referring to the elections to Magura, Mirpur and Dhaka-10 constituency. 
 
 “People witnessed the elections (to Magura, Mirpur and Dhaka-10). No person could cast their votes and people had no right to give vote during the BNP regime. This is very unfortunate that BNP leaders are now talking about electoral process,” she said posing a question: “With which mouth can they say it?”  
 
The BNP never came to power through election, she said, adding that they came to power through rigging or giving bond of selling the country. 
 
The prime minister said the BNP terrorists during their tenure casted votes of the commoners in favour of its election symbol on broad-day-light after occupying the voting centres and in some cases of failing to do so, they announced their candidates’ victory.  
 
The BNP which was formed at the hand of military dictator Ziaur Rahman, who grabbed state power violating the country’s constitution, had transformed Bangladesh into a country of terrorism, militancy, corruption and arms trading, she said.  
 
She stated that the BNP leaders did business cashing in on the food scarcity and identified the nation as beggar before the world and said, “This (showing food insufficiency) was a business as they took commission in the name of procuring food.”  
 
Pointing at fugitive BNP leader Tarique Rahman, she said BNP leaders were also involved in arms trading which was exposed in a remark of a BNP leader.
 
“Such types of works have been carried out by the intelligence agencies. One cache of arms (10-truck arms haul) had been caught. Many cache of arms had been smuggled in and out of the country during the BNP regime,” she added. 
 
The BNP had entirely destroyed the country by making it depended on others, creating militancy and terrorism, turning it into champion of corruption for five times, she said. 
 
Besides, the BNP had also destroyed the environment of education by giving firearms to the hands of intelligent students in the educational institutes and used them as their gangs, the premier said. 
 
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and her family members were involved in money laundering which was unearthed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), she stated. 
 
Sheikh Hasina said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had dedicated his entire life to change the fate of the people by giving them an improved and better life for which he had to endure inhuman torture in Pakistani jail. 
 
The Father of the Nation along with most of his family members had been assassinated on August 15 in 1975 when he transformed Bangladesh into a least developed country within only three and a half years tenure of his government upon rebuilding a war ravaged country. 
 
“We will not allow the people who killed the Father of the Nation and established the reign of killers and war criminals to play ducks and drakes with the fate of the countrymen,” she said. 
 
 The premier said with emotion charged voice that her father, mother and brothers were killed by the Bangalees for whom her father sacrificed his entire life.

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“I never find answer of the question, how the Bangalees could do such hypocrisy and dishonesty?” she said.

She also said false propaganda was carried out in a planned way after the 1975’s August 15 carnage against Bangabandhu, his family members, and the Awami League leaders.

Sheikh Hasina said they restored the democracy in the country through the path of long movement and struggle.

She added: “If the real democracy prevails in a country, then the fate of the masses will change completely. Today’s Bangladesh is the example of that.”

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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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