Bangladesh Awami League to stay beside people: Sheikh Hasina


Prime Minster and Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina has greeted the countrymen and paid homage to the party's founders on the occasion of its 68th founding anniversary saying that AL would always stay beside the people as before.

"On this day I recall with respect the greatest Bengali of all time, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, . . . I recall with respect Awami League's founder president Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani and general secretary Shamsul Haque, I recall with respect Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy," she said in a statement issued to mark the anniversary.

Sheikh Hasina greeted the AL workers, leaders and supporters on the occasion alongside the countrymen.

The AL president said the party would remain beside the people and turn the country into 'Sonar Bangla' as dreamt by the Father of the Nation.

"Awami League has a glorious role in every major achievement of the nation. Insha Allah (God willing), it will remain beside the people in future too, and turn the country into Sonar Bangla as envisioned by Father of the Nation," she said.

She said the unflinching dedication of the party's succeeding leaders and workers over the decades turned Awami League into a huge organization of mass people.

She recalled that the party was established on June 23, 1949 at "Rose Garden" on K M Das Lane in Dhaka and said the history of the AL is closely linked with the people's struggle for realizing their rights.

"The Language Movement in 1952, Jukta Front election in 1954, the anti-Ayub movement in 1962, restoration of peace after riots in 1964, six-point demand movement in 1966 and the mass upsurge in 1969- all took place under the leadership of the AL," she said.

In the general elections of 1970, the people of Bangladesh gave an absolute majority to the Awami League and in continuation Bangabandhu on March 7, 1971 declared that "The struggle now is for freedom, for independence," the Prime Minister mentioned.

She continued that on the Black Night of March 25, 1971, the Pakistani occupation forces swooped on the people and arrested Bangabandhu. Before his arrest, Bangabandhu had declared the country's independence using the then EPR wireless.

The country achieved independence on December 16, 1971 following the Liberation War conducted under the AL government formed in Mujibnagar on April 17.

After independence when Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was busy building the nation, the assassins killed Bangabandhu and his family on the fateful night of August 15 in 1975.

Subsequently on November 3, 1975 the four national leaders were killed in prison to make Awami League leaderless.

The Prime Minister said there were national and international conspiracies to destroy the AL, but those did not succeed. After a long struggle to establish democracy, the AL returned to power in 1996. Then the AL ran the country successfully from 1996 to 2001 and this period was the 'golden era' in the history of the nation.

The AL government turned food-deficit Bangladesh into a food-surplus country, signed the Ganges water sharing treaty with India and concluded the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) peace treaty.

Waging a movement against the BNP-Jamaat government and facing all conspiracies of the caretaker government, the Awami League was once again voted to power in 2008. It was a victory for the sacrifice and patience of Awami League leaders and workers.

In the last few years, the Awami League government carried out tremendous development in all sectors, specially agriculture, education, health, communication, information technology, infrastructure, power, rural economic growth, diplomatic successes and cooperation as per its electoral pledges.

"Bangladesh is now a role model in development. Country's GDP growth stands at 7.24 percent and poverty rate has come down to 22 percent while per capita income increased to US $ 1,602. The reserve has crossed US $ 32 billion. One and a half crore people have got employment," she noted.

The premier said the income of five crore people reached middle income level from the lower-middle income and the country achieved self-sufficiency in food production.

"Some 55 lakh people are getting benefits under the social safety net while 80 percent people are getting electricity facilities," Sheikh Hasina said adding different development data including the health facilities for the rural people who can get 30 types of medicine for free.

The Awami League government, she said, connected Bangladesh with the highway of development while the Padma Multipurpose Bridge is being constructed with country's own finance along with different infrastructural development including construction of roads, bridges, flyover, alleviated expressway and railway.

Referring to the ill intention of vested quarters to destroy the communal harmony in the country, the Prime Minister said, "The defeated forces of the Liberation War are trying to create unrest and an unstable situation across the country but no evil forces will be allowed to spread on this holy soil and there is no room for terrorists and militancy here."

Sheikh Hasina expressed her determination that AL government would root out the anti-democratic and anti-state evil forces and uphold the spirit of Liberation War.

She said her government is pledge-bound to turn Bangladesh into a prosperous country by implementing 'Vision 2021' and 'Vision 2041', the people irrespective of party affiliation and opinions to come forward to continue this trend of development.