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Jan 5 election was not voter-less: PM

DHAKA, Jan 6, 2018 (BSS) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said the January 5, 2014 general election was not a voter-less one unlike to those were held during BNP and Ershad regimes.

"Many quarters claimed that the January 5, 2014 election was a voter-less poll. But, in fact, by no means it was a voter-less one as 40 percent voters exercised their franchise in that election amidst orchestrated violence of BNP," she said.

"Our present government remains in power for the last four years as people voted it to power, which Ershad and BNP could not do in 1990 and 1996," she said.

The prime minister said this in her introductory speech in the Awami League Central Working Committee (ALCWC) meeting at Ganabhaban here this evening.

Sheikh Hasina said Khaleda Zia was compelled to resign within one and a half months as they rigged votes of the people on February 15, 1996.

"On the other hand, Awami League was elected by the people and the utmost goal of the Awami League was to safeguard the country's democracy as Khaleda Zia wanted to thwart it," she said.

Blaming BNP for destroying democratic rights of the people, the prime minister said Ziaur Rahman grabbed the power at gunpoint from Justice Sayem what General Ayub Khan did. Justice Sayem mentioned this in his book titled "Last Phase at Bangabhaban".

"BNP now claims itself as a democratic party, but in which democratic process it was born and came to power?" she questioned.


Referring to the High Court verdict that declared the Zia and Ershad regimes illegal and undemocratic, the prime minister questioned, "How undemocratically born political parties cry for democracy?"

"They have captured power through killing an elected president and started to claim themselves as democratic," she said, adding that a section of people come out of their support either for their memory loss or to oppose the Awami League.

Sheikh Hasina said Awami League is a political party, which always fights for democratic rights of the people. Awami League leaders and workers never retreated from their struggle even in immense torture and intimidation.

She said a country can never attain economic progress under a military ruler. It's possible for a democratic party which believe in the rights and welfare of the people, she added.

Sheikh Hasina said so in Bangladesh a military ruler will never come to power in future.

The prime minister blasted Begum Zia for her recent twit to people where she described BNP as a political party, which believes in ballot, and Awami League believes in bullet.

"The fact is completely opposite," the premier said, adding it was her slogan which she had given first in 1981 after returning to home after the political change in 1975.

Sheikh Hasina said BNP would not be benefitted blaming the Awami League for the lawsuits filed against Khaleda Zia and her sons on charge of corruption.

"The case was filed by the caretaker government, led by the persons who were picked by Khaleda Zia to serve her during her regime. And, all the cases were testified by international agencies like FBI and Singapore government and found her elder son guilty for siphoning off money," she said.

"So we have nothing to do with this case," Sheikh Hasina said, adding that BNP government, out of political vengeance, had filed many cases against her for the acquisitions in the armed forces and novo-theatre.

"Each and every case filed against me by BNP was investigated and I have faced those with courage as I was not guilty," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the accounts of the wealth of Khaleda Zia and her sons in foreign countries were also unearthed by the international media, which she mentioned during a recent press conference.

"So, if you want to protest the reports and you have courage, you should serve legal notices on those foreign media, not on me," she said.

The prime minister said she will give reply to the legal notice of BNP in due time.

Criticizing Khaleda Zia for one of her recent comment on Padma Bridge, Sheikh Hasina said Khaleda Zia is suffering from inner-burning as the construction of the bridge is becoming visible.

"The mega project is being implemented in due process, not on the basis of any patchwork. We will see whether Khaleda Zia or any BNP leader go through the bridge when it is constructed," she said.

She also blasted Khaleda Zia for her sarcastic comment on recently procured submarine for Bangladesh Navy.

"Submarines were procured to strengthen the navy. But Khaleda Zia is castigating the procurement saying the submarine sank in the bay due to leakage," the prime minister said.

BNP never tried to strengthen the armed forces, but used it to grab power, she added.

Sheikh Hasina urged the Awami League leaders to work together to continue the pace of development to build Bangladesh as a middle incoming country by 2021 and a developed one by 2041.