Awami League (AL) President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina emphasized that the core of Awami League’s political agenda is centered on the well-being of the people, in stark contrast to the alleged destructive intentions of the BNP-Jamaat alliance.
Addressing an election rally at the historic Bangabandhu Udyan in the divisional headquarters, Sheikh Hasina asserted, “The political approach of BNP-Jamaat is oriented towards causing harm, particularly through the act of burning people. Do the people desire such a political direction? No, they do not.”
The AL leader strongly condemned the actions of BNP-Jamaat, citing instances of violence, including killings and arson attacks. She remarked, “As we work towards the nation’s development, BNP-Jamaat resorts to arson. Their actions are detrimental to the progress we aim to achieve for the people.”
She reiterated her call to the citizens, especially the new voters, urging them to support her party in order to sustain the continuous advancement of Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina emphasized that the votes of new voters should not be in vain and encouraged them to contribute to the country’s progress by voting for the boat, the election symbol of Awami League.
Highlighting Awami League’s belief in the potential of the youth, Sheikh Hasina stated, “Awami League places its trust in the power of the youth. I appeal to the new voters, exercising their franchise for the first time, to choose the boat symbol, ensuring the victory of Awami League.”
She concluded by asserting that BNP-Jamaat, due to their alleged involvement in harmful activities such as burning and killing people, lacks the legitimacy to engage in politics in Bangladesh, as the citizens no longer support such destructive practices.
Sheikh Hasina reiterated her strong stance against the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), categorizing it as a terrorist entity with no rightful place in the country’s political landscape. She asserted, “BNP is a terrorist party; this terrorist organization has forfeited its right to engage in politics within Bangladesh due to its history of inflicting harm on people, including burning and killing.”
During a formal election campaign rally that commenced on December 20 in Sylhet, and subsequent rallies at Taraganj, Mithapukur, and Pirganj upazila in Rangpur districts on December 26, Sheikh Rehana, Bangabandhu’s younger daughter and Sheikh Hasina’s sister, was also present on the dais.
Reflecting on recent incidents along railway lines that resulted in casualties, Sheikh Hasina drew parallels with BNP-Jamaat’s history of arson terrorism in 2001, emphasizing that they repeated similar acts in 2013 and 2014. The Prime Minister condemned these actions, underscoring the party’s alleged involvement in destructive activities over the years.
Now, they’ve started the same arson terrorism, she said, adding, “I condemn that BNP-Jamaat.”
The prime minister said that Jamaat, the companion of BNP, is the culprits of 1971 as it was involved in genocide, looting, rape, torturing people and their leaders were convicted as the war criminals.
“One party is terrorist, killer, 10 trucks arms smuggler, involved in money laundering, siphoned orphans’ money, and committed all types of misdeeds. And the other one is war criminal,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said that BNP-Jamaat doesn’t want election. “They want to foil it, let me urge you, all of you will go to the polling centres in the early morning of 7 January. What will be the symbol, it will be ‘boat,” she said.
Seeking votes for boat, the election symbol of Awami League, to serve the people once again for making their lives developed and prosperous, she said that Boat is the symbol of Prophet Nuh that saved the human race during the Great Flood.
“It is Boat in which you people got your independence and developed your living standard,” she added.
“Will you cast your votes for Boat, promise me, please raise your hands,” she urged the people who were present in the rally and they raised their hands and chanted slogans for Boat.
Expressing concern, Sheikh Hasina noted the reemergence of arson terrorism by BNP-Jamaat and firmly condemned their actions. She emphasized, “I condemn that BNP-Jamaat.”
The Prime Minister underscored the historical culpability of Jamaat, the ally of BNP, in the atrocities of 1971, highlighting its involvement in genocide, looting, rape, and torture. She pointed out that leaders of Jamaat had been convicted as war criminals.
Drawing a sharp contrast between the two parties, Sheikh Hasina characterized BNP as a party with a terrorist, criminal, and corrupt image, engaging in activities such as arms smuggling, money laundering, and embezzlement of orphaned children’s funds. On the other hand, she labeled Jamaat as a party with a war criminal background.
Sheikh Hasina asserted that BNP-Jamaat does not desire a fair election and aims to disrupt the democratic process. Urging the public to participate actively, she implored, “On January 7, go to the polling centers early in the morning. Vote for the ‘boat’ symbol.”
She sought votes for the boat, Awami League’s election symbol, portraying it as a symbol of development and prosperity. Sheikh Hasina drew a symbolic connection, stating that the boat is reminiscent of Prophet Nuh’s vessel, which saved humanity during the Great Flood. She reminded the audience that the boat symbol was instrumental in achieving independence and elevating living standards.
In a passionate plea, Sheikh Hasina asked the crowd to promise their votes for the boat. The attendees responded by raising their hands and chanting slogans in support of the boat symbol.
As Awami League government came in power repeatedly, the democratic process continued in the country for long 15 years resulting in the development of the country.PM Sheikh Hasina
She proceeded to introduce the Awami League candidates and those supported by the alliance in the Barishal division, urging the public to cast their votes in their favor.
The Prime Minister highlighted the significance of the Awami League’s repeated electoral victories, emphasizing that these successes have sustained the democratic process in the country for a remarkable 15 years, contributing to the overall development of Bangladesh.
She contrasted the developmental trajectory during the tenures of Ziaur Rahman, HM Ershad, and Khaleda Zia, stating that the nation did not witness substantial progress. Instead, she remarked, “The country took a backward turn. However, under the leadership of Awami League, Bangladesh has surged ahead at an unprecedented pace. It is crucial to uphold this unbeatable progress.”
Several prominent figures addressed the gathering, including Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, Barishal City Corporation Mayor Abul Khair Abdullah, Awami League Advisory Council members Amir Hossain Amu and Advocate Yusuf Hossain Humayun, Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon, Jatiya Party (Manju) Chairman Anwar Hossain Monju, Awami League Presidium members Shajahan Khan and Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Joint General Secretary AFM Bahauddin Nasim, and acclaimed actor and actress Taren Jahan and Mir Sabbir.
Under the leadership of Barishal District Awami League President Abul Hasnat Abdullah, the rally was conducted by organizing secretary Afzal Hossain.
As Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana took their place on the dais, both leaders proudly waved national flags, prompting the enthusiastic crowd to reciprocate with a wave of their own flags.
The rally commenced with cultural activists from Barishal performing traditional local songs as a warm welcome for Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana.
Reflecting on Awami League’s continuous governance for the past 15 years, Sheikh Hasina shared with the audience that they have witnessed a transformed Bangladesh during this period. She assured the people that her government is committed to bringing gas to Barishal, facilitating extensive industrialization for the overall development of the region.
Sheikh Hasina outlined plans to restore Barishal to its former glory, harking back to its historical significance as the “Granary of Bangla” and its erstwhile moniker, the “Agricultural Manchester.”
She further announced the establishment of a medical university in Barishal, mirroring initiatives in other divisional headquarters across the country.
To enhance communication and alleviate transportation challenges, the government is set to construct a six-lane road connecting Bhanga to Barishal, Sheikh Hasina revealed.
Emphasizing her party’s vision of creating a “Smart Bangladesh” by 2041, the Awami League leader articulated a commitment to providing comprehensive education for children in this transformed nation. She envisioned a curriculum rich in science and technology, aiming to cultivate a skilled and intelligent human resource.
In this vision of a “Smart Bangladesh,” Sheikh Hasina envisioned a government harnessing digital technology, mechanized agriculture contributing to a smart economy, and an overall societal transformation into a smart society. She urged students to dedicate themselves to their studies, emphasizing that proper education is indispensable for national development, stating, “No country becomes developed without proper education, and you have to keep that in your mind.”