Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina on Sunday reiterated her call for people’s alertness against attempts of murderers and war criminals to regain the power to destroy the country.
"We have achieved victory. We have to march ahead upholding the flag of victory,” she said while chairing an Awami League (AL) discussion at the Krishibid Institute Bangladesh (KIB) auditorium at Farmgate in the capital city, marking the 52nd Victory Day, according to BSS.
Sheikh Hasina added: “So, we all have to be alert to make sure that the killers and war criminals cannot destroy the country regaining the (state) power."
The premier said, “BNP wanted to oust the AL government giving an ultimatum of December 10, when the process of killing of the country's top intellectuals started just ahead of the cherished victory 51 years back.”
"Is it (ousting) so easy," she posed a question.
The premier said AL had demonstrated its capacity to topple governments in the past as “we had ousted Ayub Khan. We had removed Yahya Khan after defeating him in the Liberation War (and) we had unseated Ershad".
She said Awami League, however, could not oust Ziaur Rahman but protests were staged wherever he had gone and “we also had removed Khaleda Zia on charges of rigging vote in the February 15, 1996, national election”.
The premier said AL also foiled Khaleda Zia’s attempt to stage a farcical election with 1.23 crore fake voters in 2006.
But, she said, it is difficult to oust the Awami League government through movements.
"Conspiracies are hatched whenever Awami League is in power. We had been barred from coming to power due to conspiracies in 2001. The people of the country had to suffer for it," the premier said.
People have to take decisions about whether they want to suffer or to march towards prosperity with an indomitable pace holding the flag of victory, she said, adding, "We will build 'Smart Bangladesh' by 2041".
Sheikh Hasina briefly described "Smart Bangladesh" in 2041, saying each person in Bangladesh will be competent in using computers and everything including business, commerce, governing system, health and education.
All will be brought under e-system such as e-governance, e-business and e-citizen, she said.
"We will march forward in such a way. We have to continue the pace of Bangladesh's journey towards development," she said.
The prime minister said it is our promise on the victory day that "we will build the 'Sonar Bangladesh' envisioned by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman".
Bangladesh has become a developing country and "we will transform it into a developed country," she added.
She expressed her wonder about how the pro-liberation forces like left-leaning parties with anti-liberation elements such as the BNP-Jamaat alliance forged unity to topple the AL government after knowing the country's true history.
"One thing that surprised me, is where the leftists are and where the rightists are. The leftists turned to around 90 degrees and stand under the same platform of the Jamaat-BNP," she said, questioning where their ideal is and where their moral is.
The AL president also questioned how the intellectuals who are always talking about morality, have forged unity with the convicted accused in the 10-truck arms haul case, August 21, 2004 grenade attack case, money laundering case and Zia Orphanage Trust fund embezzlement case.
Sheikh Hasina said her party assumed power in 1996 after 21 years with the blessings of the almighty Allah and with the mandate of the people and carried out massive development programmes for the socio-economic advancement of Bangladesh.
“The period from 1996 to 2001 of the Awami League government was a golden era for the country. Then, a conspiracy was hatched and we did not come to power (in 2001),” she added.
The Prime Minister said what the Bangladeshi people have gotten after the assumption of the BNP-Jamaat alliance government except for terrorism, grenade attacks, lootings, bombings, unbridled corruption, inhuman torture, money laundering and arms race in the educational institutions.
“There was no safety and security in anyone's life,” she continued.
The AL assumed power for the second time in 2009 and continued three consecutive terms in power to date, she said, adding they have done everything possible for giving the people a developed and beautiful life that included giving electricity in every house, making unprecedented infrastructure development, reaching healthcare to every doorstep, increasing literacy rate and per capita income and giving a home to the homeless and landless free of cost.
“The people of the country have realised that the government is their servant after Awami League came to power and my government has proved that a government can develop the life of people if it wants,” she added.
Those who came to power after the 1975 changeover (except the Awami League), did not want Bangladesh to move around the world with due dignity as an independent country, she said.
She added: “Their target was to transform Bangladesh into a failed state and the victory in the great Liberation War had become meaningless and diverted the country from the spirit of the Liberation War.”
The Prime Minister reiterated her call to the countrymen to show austerity in using electricity, gas and water and make savings alongside bringing their fallow lands under cultivation to grow food for them to successfully face the global crisis steamed from the Coronavirus pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.
She said her government has reached electricity to every house in line with their electoral pledge.
But, she said, they had to ration electricity for some days in the country due to skyrocketing international price-hike of fuel and gas, adding, “Now, there is no problem anymore.”
The premier said that the supply of 800 megawatts of electricity from the Payra Thermal Power Plant has added to the national grid last week.
She said they are supplying electricity to everyone at subsidised prices though the cost of its production is much higher which makes it impossible to give electricity at much lower prices due to the global economic meltdown.
The Prime Minister said everyone including business people can adjust the additional expenses for electricity, gas, water and fuel by showing austerity in using those.