Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday launched her party’s election campaign with a clarion call to the people to vote for the ruling Awami League candidates so they win to serve the common people.
The prime minister, who heads the Awami League, was addressing a huge public meeting at Sylhet Government Alia Madrasa Ground organised by local unit of the ruling party, reports UNB.
The huge crowd burst into cheers and raised their hands when Hasina asked them “Will you cast your votes for them (AL candidates)? Let your hands rise and promise me.”
Earlier in the day the premier offered prayers at the shrines of sufi saints Hazrat Shahjalal (R) and Hazrat Shah Paran on the outskirts of Sylhet city.
In her rally speech Hasina once again attacked opposition BNP branding them as looters, killers, corrupts and embezzlers of orphans’ money.
These elements, the PM said, are burning people alive in a bid to thwart the election slated for January 7 next.
She requested all to build resistance against arson terrorism that burns people alive.
The prime minister said that BNP-Jamaat clique wants to snatch away people’s lives, and they want to foil the polls by preventing people from casting their votes.
“Where do they get such courage? There is a black-sheep sitting in London gives order and some people are here to play with fire. ……their hands will be burnt in that fire,” she said. She was obviously referring to Tarique Rahman, the acting chairman of BNP, who lives in London, UK.
Hasina denounced BNP and Jamaat as a nexus and said they thought the government would cave in to their arson terrorism.
“They thought that with some incidents of arson attacks the government will be fallen. The thing is not that much easy,” she said.
The prime minister said that the mass people are getting benefits of the result of Awami League being in the power.
“Our aim is to build poverty-free developed Golden Bangla and for that purpose I am working on vigorously,” she said.
Hasina mentioned that she has nothing to lose, as she has lost everything including father, mother, brothers and everything.
“The only younger sister of mine and I had survived. Losing everything and depriving my small children from their motherly love I had returned to Bangladesh in 1981 just to fulfill my father’s dream which was to build the country with the spirit of the Liberation War,” she added.
The PM said that her government has taken a plan to build smart Bangladesh. That will mean smart government, smart people, smart economy and smart society.
“Bangladesh will be a modern technology-based country that will have a sustainable economy, Merit-based education, advanced society, righteous and transparent Bangladesh is what we want to build,” she added.
Highlighting different development projects implemented by the government in last 15 years, she said that if AL is voted to power again it will carry out feasibility to introduce metro rail in Sylhet, river bank development to prevent flood, install double-track rail line on Dhaka-Sylhet route, construct another bridge beside Keane Bridge, conduct dredging on Kushiara, Manu and other rivers as well as is now doing expansion of Sylhet Osmani International Airport and dredging of Surma River after 50 years.
At the outset, local singers performed traditional songs of Sylhet to welcome Sheikh Hasina and his younger sister Sheikh Rehana.
Bangabandhu’s younger daughter Rehana was also present at the dais.
Arriving on the dais both Hasina and Rehana waived national flag at the cheering crowd. In response the crowed also waived mini flags they carried.
AL General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, AL nominate candidate for Sylhet-I constituency and foreign minister AK Abdul Momen, presidium member Syeda Jebunnesa Huq, Sylhet city corporation mayor Anwaruzzaman Chowdhury, advisory council member Nurul Islam Nahid, joint general secretary and education minister Dipu Moni, organising secretary Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel, and noted actress Tarin Jahan also spoke.
With Sylhet City AL President freedom fighter Masuk Uddin in the chair, its general secretary Professor Zakir Hossain and District AL general secretary Nasir Uddin conducted the rally.
The entire Sylhet region, centring the rally, wore a festive mood while the local people as well as leaders and workers of the ruling Awami League and associate bodies cheered the arrival of their party chief ahead of the national polls.
Pinning upon the public rally, which is also formal beginning of election campaign, the entire Sylhet turned into a town of euphoria.
The city wore a festive look while people of all strata of life as well as leaders and activists of AL looked joyous.
Although the premier was scheduled to join the rally at 3 pm, hundreds of thousands of people thronged into the rally ground since early morning and within few hours the ground filled to the brim.
Many even arrived overnight to secure a place of their choice.
The crowd then spilled over the surrounding areas, roads and empty places, meaning the city turned into human sea hours before arrival of the prime minister on the boat-shaped stage.
Since the morning, common people, including women were seen marching towards the venue in procession chanting slogans “Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu” and holding colourful placards, banners, festoons, and wearing colourful T-shirts, cap on heads, head bands, drums, election symbol boat as well as national and party flags.
A large number of women, many in smiling faces, stood in queues for hours outside gates to get into the meeting venue.
Jubilant members and supporters of Awami League joined the rally from adjoining districts by buses, pickup vans, motorcycles, while many others walked or came in processions.