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Beware of 'deceptive campaigns': PM

  • Published at 04:26 pm August 9th, 2013
Beware of 'deceptive campaigns': PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday expressed her hope that citizens would not be misguided by the "misleading campaigns" of the opposition that followed the five recent city corporation elections.

"Their deceptive campaign misled the people about deciding how to cast their vote. I call upon people not to repeat such mistakes in future," she said while talking to the media after exchanging Eid greetings with different party leaders, professionals, judges and diplomats at her official residence Ganabhaban.

"We conceded defeat in five cities. It is a surprise for me. We fielded very good candidates against whom there was no allegation of corruption. Rather each of them had record of implementing massive development works. Even then they did not get vote," the prime minister said.

"We expect that citizen will not be misguided in future. They will vote for those who are honest and devoted to the development of their areas," she said.

The prime minister said BNP, by taking Jamaat and Hefazat-e-Islam on board, were disrupting the civic life. "If a man cannot work in the day time, how he will maintain his life?" she asked.

Criticising the caretaker government system, the prime minister claimed the people had had bad experiences with caretakers. In 2007 and 2008, she said politicians, businessmen, teachers, students and journalists had suffered under them.

Hasina said past caretaker governments had had no intention to hold elections. Rather, they had eventually been compelled to hold elections by the people.

She said the constitution was amended according to the recommendation of a special parliamentary committee. The committee amended the constitution to consolidate parliamentary democracy.

"We wanted to ensure that no unconstitutional government would dare to take power, no undemocratic government would come to the country and no military dictator would grab power and declare himself president.

"The people are the owner of the power, and we believe that the country will run according to the constitution," she said.

Pointing out about 6,000 elections held under the present government, the prime minister said none could raise any questions about the neutrality and fairness of those elections. People freely and fairly exercised their franchise. “No one but the Awami League gave this power to people," she said.

Expressing her desire for a stable social and economic situation in the country during the month of Ramadan, she said the month had passed very peacefully. The most important issue – the price of essentials – was kept under control. The price of some items even declined in the middle of Ramadan, she noted.  

“Other overburdened civic problems including price of essentials, power and water crisis, law and order situation – those we inherited from past regime – were absolutely under control,” she said, adding that inflation was also markedly low during Ramadan.

"Lower prices of items helped people to buy more and traders to do brisk business. It's a great success for a government," she said.

Hasina said the present grand alliance government, since taking office, had made relentless efforts to resolve civic problems. “As a result, the law and order situation has improved, and problems of load shedding and gas crisis were resolved,” she said.

The prime minister said, taking the state of impoverished people into consideration, her government had allocated rice to poor families in rural areas during the month of Ramadan through VGF and VGD cards.

The gates of Ganabhaban opened for visitors at 9am, when people from all walks of life started arriving after their Eid prayers and waited in the queue to meet the prime minister. Senior Awami League leaders and cabinet members greeted the prime minister by presenting her with bouquets.

Hasina, flanked by her daughter Saima Hossain, senior party leaders and cabinet members exchanged greetings with the citizens. Ministers, leaders of different political parties, parliament members, freedom fighters, leaders of front organisations of Awami League, different professional bodies, trade bodies as well as a cross-section of people including beggars and the destitute exchanged Eid greetings with the prime minister.

As in previous years, some of the visitors took the programme as an opportunity to draw attention of the top executive of the country to their grievances, and sought her intervention and support to resolve those problems.

At a late programme at the Ganabhaban lawn, the prime minister exchanged Eid greetings with judges of the Supreme Court, senior civil and military officials and diplomats. Later she sent flowers, fruits and sweets for the wounded freedom fighters at College Road rehabilitation centre. 

Talking to the media, the prime minister said her government was trying to give people comfort and had taken every step keeping this in mind. People could celebrate Eid amidst festivity and enthusiasm, as Awami League was in power; shopping till midnight during BNP regime was unimaginable, she added.

Painting a picture of the country's economy, Hasina said: "We have implemented 96% of the annual development plan. No government could meet this record."

Hasina said her government had attached high importance to education, as she believed a nation could not prosper without education. She said madrasa education had been modernised, and a total of 11,951,000 students at primary, secondary, and higher secondary levels were given stipends.

She said the government had distributed a total of 910m books free of cost among students, including 270m on the very first day of the academic year. The quality of education has improved and the pass rate increased.

"This year the pass rate declined slightly because of political turmoil and hartals by BNP and Jamaat. Thirty-two exams had to be rescheduled due to their hartals," she said.

The prime minister said: "We want to move the country forward. We want to build a developed nation and beautiful social system. In view of this the present government has constructed community healthcare centres in every union so that poor can get service at their doorstep," she said.

Hasina said the country had achieved food security during the present government's tenure. In the month of Ramadan, she said, the government had distributed free food through the Vulnerable Group Feeding (VGF) and Vulnerable Group Development (VGD) cards, so that no one suffered from lack of food.

She said around nine million youths founds jobs during the tenure of the present government. Despite the global economic recession, the rate of growth was more than 6%.

“Bangladesh now is a role model for its success in reducing child and mother mortality rate,” she added.

Recalling the assassination of her family on August 15, 1975, Hasina said: “Eid brings happiness for all, but it brings both grief and happiness for me. I lost my parents, brothers and sisters and close relatives in this month, she recalled.

"But I want to realise the dream of [my father and] the Father of the Nation to build a prosperous Bangladesh, and rid people of poverty and hunger by establishing their basic rights.”

She sought the blessings of her countrymen and their votes in the next general elections, saying her government had implemented most of the commitments it had given to people before the 2008 polls. “In some areas we have done more than our commitment," she said, adding the present government would complete the rest of the work.

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