No unelected person to be allowed in state power again: PM

May 31, 2013

Urging the leader of the Opposition, Khaleda Zia, to return to Parliament, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday reiterated that the next general elections will be held in such a manner that the democratic process will continue in the country.
“I will ask the Opposition leader to come to Parliament and speak up there, so as to find out a solution for holding the next general elections in such a way that the democratic process continues in the country,” the Premier said in a views-exchange meeting with her party’s grassroots leaders from Madaripur district at her official residence Ganobhaban.
Sheikh Hasina, who is also the president of the Awami League, said, “We will have to start a system where there will be no unelected person in state power. This is for ensuring continuation of the democratic process in the country.”
As had happened in the past, unelected persons will not be able to do anything good for the country and democracy, she said. Since they had failed earlier, so no unelected person would be allowed in state power anymore, she added.
Describing the Opposition demand for restoration of the caretaker government system as illogical, the Prime Minister said the next general elections in the country will be held as in other countries of the world which have parliamentary democracy.
“Awami League does not want to cling to power holding a hotchpotch election. Power will be hand over to the elected persons in a peaceful manner. There had been so many trials in connection with the country’s elections in the past,” she said.
At the same time, the Prime Minister called upon her party leaders and workers as well as the people of the country to stay vigilant so that the BNP-Jamaat alliance is not able to create anarchy in the country like they did on 1/11.
Sounding a note of caution, she urged the mass media, especially private television channels, not to spread misinformation regarding the election system, taking advantage of the freedom of speech.
The Awami League president accused the BNP of killing her party activists in a planned way while some newspapers were trying to colour the issue by dubbing them criminals. She also alleged that the Opposition was hatching various conspiracies to destabilize the country, but the people of the country are not supporting their activities.
The Premier said the country had seen how people were oppressed during the time of elections in the past: how polling centres were captured, how ballot papers got sealed, and how ballot boxes were stuffed. In the past, Hasina mentioned, the country also witnessed how the election results were changed and how members of the minority community were driven away from polling centres.
“We always see elections as the right of the people. That person will win who gets the votes of the people; this is our last word. The voting right of people is the constitutional right,” she iterated.
Hasina said the present government has stopped the path of capture of state power through unconstitutional and undemocratic means, and urged the people to remain vigilant so that no one can foil the country’s democratic process.
Criticising the leader of the Opposition for her role in unleashing violence in the name of organising a movement, the Prime Minister said the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader, by joining hands with Jamaat-Shibir and Hefazat-e-Islam, wanted to destabilize the country in various ways.
She said BNP-Jamaat elements were killing people and cutting thousands of trees on the pretext of organising a movement. “But they are not getting any response from the people. I want to know from the Opposition leader what offences have the trees committed?” she asked.
In this context, she mentioned that BNP and Jamaat activists, along with Hefazat followers, burnt hundreds of copies of the Holy Quran on May 5, adding that such a heinous crime has never occurred in the past. Sheikh Hasina called upon the people of the country to resist those who are cheating the common people in the name of Islam.
Referring to the ongoing trial of war criminals, she said the tribunals have begun pronouncing their verdicts and the present government will certainly execute those. Hasina, however, alleged that the Opposition leader has become desperate to save the war criminals. “She started killing people just to save the war criminals.”
Listing the various development programmes implemented by her government in education, healthcare, information and communications technology (ICT), road communications and other infrastructural sectors, the Prime Minister said the country is moving towards development and prosperity.
Besides, she said, there has been a marked fall in the poverty level as a social safety net has been established in the country by providing various allowances and creating new employment opportunities for over 90 lakh people.
Hasina mentioned that the present government has distributed free textbooks to students of the secondary level and purveyed healthcare and ICT services to the doorsteps of rural people.
She also called upon all to work together for developing the country in the spirit of the Liberation War and establishing Bangladesh as a middle-income country by 2021.
AL presidium member and deputy leader of the House, Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, PM’s advisor Dr Alauddin Ahmed, shipping minister Shahjahan Khan, AL joint secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif and AL organizing secretaries AFM Bahuddin Nasim, Khaild Mahmud Chowdhury and BM Mozammel, labour affairs secretary Habibur Rahman Siraj, information and research secretary Advocate Afzal Hossain, office secretary Abdul Mannan Khan and Noor-e-Alam Liton Chowdhury were present, among others.

-With The Independent input

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