- Published on Friday, 08 September 2017 13:25
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Asserting that next general election must be held in a free, fair and impartial manner in the country and on time, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said none will be allowed to play ducks and drakes with the voting rights of the people.
"The next general election must be held in a free, fair and neutral manner ... none will be allowed to play ducks and drakes with the voting rights of the people and we won't let it happen," she said.
Sheikh Hasina, also the Awami League president, was addressing a meeting of the Awami League Central Working Committee (ALCWC) at her official Ganabhaban residence on Thursday evening.
The prime minister said the Election Commission will hold the next polls in completely independent manner. "We will ensure it," she said.
She added that there is no scope for unnecessary polluting the water about the polls and thinking about doing other things by violating the constitution.
While talking about the BNP's demand for holding a free and fair election in the country, Sheikh Hasina said the BNP should look their face in the mirror as the party had first staged farcical elections.
"I'm wondered and laugh when the BNP talks and raises various allegations about the free and fair elections in the country ... I think they should look their face in the mirror," she said.
The premier said whatever incidents about the elections occurred in the country that were during the rule of the BNP. "This party had first influenced the polls and staged farcical elections," she added.
The prime minister said General Zia after grabbing power illegally and violating constitution staged the "Yes-No" vote. Ziaur Rahman also staged farcical presidential elections where record 100 percent votes were cast and after the polls, he constituted the BNP, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the BNP is such a party which was formed by the man who captured power illegally. "The people didn't forget the repression, torture and exploitation that BNP unleashed when they were in power ... their such character was exposed when it came to power," she said.
She said the BNP rigged the 1979 elections by capturing polling booths like the 15th February polls in 1996. "Almost all BNP candidates were elected MPs unopposed in the 15th February polls and no election was held in 18 seats at that time ... so I don't know how they talk about the fair polls?"
The AL president also mentioned rigging in the Magura, Mirpur and Dhaka-10 by-elections during the BNP government, saying that the BNP snatched and destroyed the voting rights of the people.
The prime minister said her government has ensured the rights to vote and constitution and it will continue. "We have waged movement for vote and food and established these rights of the people ... it is the Awami League government which raised the slogan -- Amar vote ami debo, jake khushi take debo," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said there are some "atels" in the country who have much expectations of going to power, but they have no capability of getting votes.
"But the people of the country won't accept the suffering of the people, snatching the democratic and constitutional rights and playing with the fate to fulfil the desire of such elements," she said.
About the 15th February election in 1996, Sheikh Hasina said Khaleda Zia declared herself as the prime minister after rigging the votes. "But the people of the country didn't accept that polls and that's why a mass upsurge was taken place at that time and Khaleda Zia was forced to resign within one and a half months due to stealing of votes," she said.
In this connection, the premier said if the vote rigging record of the BNP is projected then the people will understand how they (BNP) can raise question about the polls.
Sheikh Hasina said the BNP became champions in all matters like stealing of money and assets, embezzlement of orphans money, vote rigging and money laundering. "Bangladesh became champion in graft for five consecutive years during the BNP rule from 2001," she said.
The prime minister said her government has strengthened the Election Commission and made it self-reliant economically. All things of administration remain in their hand during the polls, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said all elections including by-polls and local body elections were held in a free, fair and neutral manner. "How BNP candidates have won the local government polls like city corporation election, had that election not been free and fair?" she posed a question.
The prime minister said her government took all measures including transparent ballot box and a flawless voter list with photographs for holding the elections in a free, fair and impartial manner. She said the Election Commission staged the 2014 polls independently.
While talking about the influx on Myanmar nationals into Bangladesh, the prime minister said intrusion of the Myanmar refugees started from 1978.
She said the Myanmar citizens enter into Bangladesh when an incident happens in Myanmar. "The most painful matter is that women, children die everyday in boat capsizes ... it cannot be tolerated," she said.
The prime minister said her government is trying its best to help the refugees. "Alongside we're putting pressure on the Myanmar government to take back their nationals and we want this," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said they are the Myanmar nationals and why they will take refuge in other countries. "It's not honourable for them and Myanmar will have to realize it," she said.
The prime minister said the Myanmar government should provide security and ensure livelihood for their citizens who took shelter in Bangladesh.
Terming her party Awami League as an organization of the soil and people, Sheikh Hasina said the country witnessed massive development and progress whenever the party remains in power.