Khaleda feels relaxed, upbeat

December 29, 2008

Staff correspondent
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson, Khaleda Zia, on Sunday said that she was feeling relaxed after completing preparations and hectic campaigns across the country for the general polls on Monday.
‘I feel relaxed as I have done all the works, and still I am in good health,’ Khaleda Zia told while exchanging views with newsmen at the National Press Club on Sunday.
Attired with a yellow sari, Khaleda Zia came at the press club in joyous mood to share views like the previous general elections held in 1991, 1996 and 2001.
She, however, evaded about 30 questions on the ‘mistakes’ of her government, size of the incoming cabinet if her party is voted to power and concrete plans, if there is any, to improve political culture, as she was evidently careful about the code of conduct of the parliamentary elections.
Khaleda, who led the entire electoral preparations of the BNP-led four-party alliance in general, and BNP in particular, toured 50 districts and addressed about 200 scheduled and unscheduled meetings in 16 days since December 12.
When asked about her inspiration for holding rallies at late night and travelling most of the districts in short period of time, the former prime minister said, ‘Working to save the nation and save people was my inspiration.’
She thanked the people who joined rallies and processions braving deep fog and severe cold at night during her tours across the country.
She also expressed her gratitude to the almighty for keeping her health good despite carrying out the laborious campaigns day and night.
The BNP chairperson also thanked the journalists who accompanied her during the tours braving cold in the past 16 days.
BNP fielded candidates in 259 constituencies for the polls, leaving 40 seats for the four-party alliance partners.
Apart from selecting candidates, holding negotiations with the alliance partners over seats sharing and conducting nationwide campaigns for the polls, Khaleda Zia put overt and covert pressure on the military-controlled interim government for total withdrawal of the state of emergency for creating an atmosphere congenial to free, fair and credible elections, according to the BNP insiders.
She set electoral strategy of BNP and prepared the election manifesto with the help of small teams comprising politicians and retired civil and military bureaucrats, before making it public on December 13.
She started electoral campaign on December 12 after visiting shrines of Hazrat Shahjalal, Hazrat Shah Paran and Hazrat Gazi Burhanuddin.
National Press Club president, Shaukat Mahmud, and general secretary, Kamal Uddin Sabuj, also spoke at the function.
Meanwhile, different diplomats and foreign election observers met BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia Sunday night at her Gulshan office.
The US ambassador, James F Moriarty, British high commissioner, Stephan Evans, a three-member delegation of the National Democratic Institute, a delegation of International Republican Institute, and three members of European Union election observer team, were among the visitors.
The NDI delegation chief and former US envoy in Dhaka Howard Shepherd told reporters that they expect today’s election would be held in a free and fair manner and the much desired democracy would return in Bangladesh. Shepherd said the NDI has 55 observers in Bangladesh to monitor the national polls.
Of the diplomats, two did not talk with the journalists.


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