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Nobody can stay in power by stealing votes, says PM

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina says nobody can stay in power in Bangladesh by stealing people’s votes, reports bdnews24.com.

The premier made the remarks before inaugurating a tree-planting programme organised by the Bangladesh Krishak League, the ruling Awami League's affiliated body for farmers, to mark the onset of monsoon at the Gonobhaban on Saturday.

Stating that the farmers were neglected during the terms of everyone who came to power after the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the prime minister said, “It is our misfortune that those who came to power by killing the Father of the Nation on Aug 15 not only played with people's fortunes but also destroyed their democratic process.”

“Today when the BNP speaks about voting rights and elections, it makes me laugh. It’s Bangladesh’s first military ruler Ziaur Rahman who took the voting rights of the people away by seizing power illegally. He started with a yes-no vote to try and validate his illegal power grab. Then he staged a farcical presidential election by declaring himself as the army chief and himself as the president.”

She said, “Zia had formed the party while sitting on the throne and started a vote-rigging process to secure victory in the election by distributing the remaining power. When military ruler Hussein Muhammad Ershad, following in the footsteps of Ziaur Rahman, came to power, he also played with the voting rights of the people.”

“The farmers of the country have always been neglected. After that, when Khaleda Zia came to power, it appeared that not only vote rigging, she started to play with the fortune of farmers as fertiliser was not available at all. When the farmers staged a protest, 18 of them were shot dead.”

Stating that nobody can stay in power by stealing people’s votes, Hasina said, “A farce of an election was held on Feb 15, 1996, by rigging votes. Khaleda tried to retain power by stealing votes in that election. Voter turnout was only 22 percent at that time. Most of the candidates in that election ran without opposition. That proves nobody can stay in power if they steal people’s votes. The people of Bangladesh are very aware of that.”

“What happened after the Feb 15 elections where the BNP was proud to give Khaleda a second term? They had to leave the power in the wake of a mass movement. That means she was ousted due to the crime of vote rigging.”

Highlighting Bangabandhu’s contribution to agriculture at that time, Hasina said, “Bangladesh’s economy mostly depends on agriculture. The Father of the Nation gave us independence and made a call for a green revolution after the Liberation War. He prioritised agriculture. He always dreamt of fulfilling the food and nutrition demands of the country by increasing agricultural production, ensuring the freedom of the country’s people and development for farmers.

“Bangladesh was moving forward thanks to the measures taken by him after independence. He gave the war-torn country the status of a less developed country. He was assassinated when he took steps to build a new society and make Bangladesh a country with autonomy and self-respect.”

She said, “The Father of the Nation framed a constitution in just nine months with guidelines on how to make our country self-sufficient in food and save our farmers and labourers."


The prime minister also urged people not to cause messes by slaughtering sacrificial animals indiscriminately.

The slaughtering of sacrificial animals and their butchering is regularly seen in nearly every alley, and even on the main roads in Dhaka after the Eid prayer congregation at 7:30am. The sacrifices often flood the streets with blood-stained water and waste.

City officials have repeatedly urged residents to make sacrifices at designated locations to make cleaning easier.

After the tree-plantation event, the prime minister extended her advance Eid greetings to everyone and said: “We will have to ensure that places are not made dirty or strewn with waste by making sacrifices indiscriminately. Everyone should pay particular attention to this everywhere, starting from one’s own home.”

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