Fair polls is government’s motto: PM

Publish: 11:59 AM, November 11, 2018 | Update: 11:59:AM, November 11, 2018

DHAKA  – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said her government aimed to ensure the fairness of the upcoming elections to strengthen the democracy and intensify the development process as she Awami League’s youth front leaders called on her.

“It’s our motto to stage the upcoming polls in free, fair and neutral manner and I hope that other political parties will come to the elections,” she said as Bangladesh Awami Jubo League leaders and workers called on her at Ganabhaban here this morning on the occasion of the front’s 46th founding anniversary.

Sheikh Hasina said “the reality is unless a political party takes part in elections it loses its strength” and expected other political parties to join the elections through which the democracy would be strengthened further and country would be more developed”.

Jubo League Chairman Alhaj Omar Faruk Chowdhury presided over the function, while General Secretary Harun-or-Rashid also spoke after the leaders of the organization greeted the prime minister by presenting bouquets.

The prime minister said her government took many mega projects and spearheading a massive anti-poverty campaign by now reducing poverty rate to 21 percent from 41 percent and the development thrive should continue through Awami League’s reelection.

She said her government targeted to cut poverty rate by 4/5 percent further to call Bangladesh a poverty-free nation for which the country needed to reelect Awami League.

“If we don’t come to power none will implement these schemes,” she said.

Referring to a recent query by BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia wondering why Sheikh Hasina was not being prosecuted like her in the NIKO case, the prime minister said investigators had interrogated her as well while she was confined during the past military-backed interim regime.

“I want to say in response to the BNP leader’s comments that I was interrogated by the investigators when I was in the jail, but they did not get anything against me,” the premier said.

Sheikh Hasina said had she been involved in NIKO or other corruptions, the investigators could have got something against her “but they didn’t get anything”.

The prime minister said she had challenged the World Bank’s corruption allegations against her regarding the Padma Bridge while a Canadian Federal court eventually dismissed the case of corruption allegations involving the project, terming it abricated and baseless.

“The World Bank, US FBI and the British intelligences thoroughly conducted investigations all over the world to find out corruption of mine, my sister and children . . . but they didn’t get anything,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said on assuming power in 2001 the BNP government too filed a dozen cases against her and started investigations but “they (too) didn’t get anything against me”.

Furthermore, the prime minister said the caretaker government also carried out investigations against her and her children and sister and enquired about their bank accounts and “they also didn’t find anything wrong”.

She said Khaleda Zia and then the caretaker government, and lastly the World Bank, being instigated by certain quarters including Dr Mohammad Yunus, tried to hook her on graft charges but found nothing.

“They didn’t get anything, since we committed no wrong . . . they would have gotten something if we had done anything (wrong),” she said.

The prime minister asked the Jubo League leaders and workers to serve the nation by winning the greed and fear. “The people who could triumph the greed and fear will be able to deliver something to the nation and the country,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina also urged the Jubo League leaders and workers to devote themselves to building a developed and prosperous Bangladesh following the ideology of Bangabandhu.

“If you can follow the ideology of Bangabandhu, it will be your great success . . . there is no success in enjoyment, rather success comes in exchange for sacrifice,” she said.