Prime Minister and Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said that the BNP knows they won't come to power through election by securing people's votes, and that is why the party is engaged in conspiracy to thwart the next election.
"BNP, the party of killers of Father of the Nation which is involved in terrorism, militancy, bombing and grenade attacks, knows that they will never come to power through elections and they will not get the votes of the people, and that is why they are engaged in conspiracy to make the election questionable and foil the election," she said.
The Premier said this while chairing the commemorative discussion meeting organised by AL, marking the National Mourning Day 2023 in the city's Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC).
Pointing out that BNP has been plotting since 1975, she said, they have plotted and played ducks and drakes with the fate of the countrymen.
"People of this country got independence only when they voted in favour of boat. Today, they are able to eat, get electricity, get roads, get employment and the fate of people has changed - what Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman always wanted," she added.
Mentioning that after losing parents, brothers and others, Sheikh Hasina said that she came to the country with only one promise that "I will not let this independence, achieved by the blood of millions of martyrs, to be failed."
"I wouldn't let anybody play ducks and drakes with the fate of the people of the country until I am alive," she said.
In this regard, she urged the countrymen to be aware of conspiracy so that no one could destroy the fate of Bangladesh through any type of plot.
The Prime Minister also alleged that the secret motive of some foreign countries is to hinder the progress of Bangladesh and use the Bay of Bengal behind their interest in the election and democracy of this country.
"They want to create a (unstable) situation in this country on different excuses, including election, democracy and different other names, so that they can use the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. The purpose of some of them is to attack different countries in this region and destroy those countries," she said without mentioning the name of any country.
She said their purpose is neither (arrangement of) an election nor democracy. "They want to create obstacles on the development journey of Bangladesh. It is the reality," she added.
The Premier said her government strengthened the foundation of democracy and ensured the voting rights of the people, uplifted the socio-economic condition of the people, brought down the poverty rate to 18.6 percent from 41 percent and extreme poverty rate to 5.7 percent from 25 percent.
She said the Bay of Bengal is a very important place in terms of geographical location as it is in the Indian Ocean, which is the safest and undisputed waterway for international goods transportation. So, they want to create a situation in this country on the excuse of election, democracy and different other names so that they can use the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal, she observed.
Criticizing the local supporters of the foreign forces, Sheikh Hasina said there are some clowns in the country, who speak in their tune not understanding and realizing this reality. "They (local clowns) are doing these in many ways just for some pennies," she said.
The Premier asked the people of Bangladesh to remain vigilant in this regard. "I believe that the countries located in the Indian Ocean region should remain conscious enough in this regard," she said.
AL General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader delivered the opening speech.
AL Advisory Council Member Amir Hossain Amu, Presidium Members Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, Advocate Kamrul Islam and Advocate Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Joint General Secretary and Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni, Organising Secretary SM Kamal Hossain, Central Working Committee Member Advocate Tarana Halim, Dhaka South City General Secretary Humayun Kabir, and Dhaka North AL City General Secretary SM Mannan Kochi also spoke.
AL publicity and publication secretary Abdus Sobhan Golap and his deputy Syed Abdul Awal Shameem moderated the discussion.
At the outset, one-minute silence was observed to pay tribute to Bangabandhu, his family members and other martyrs of the dreadful night of August 15, 1975.
Without naming any country, the Prime Minister said the most surprising thing is that the countries which gave shelter to murderers, now they come (to government) and talk about human rights, elections, transparency. "They seem to be completely eager about the elections of Bangladesh," she added.
She said: "We were not supposed to fail in the 2001 elections. We were forcefully defeated in that election. Where was their consciousness about election of 1996 when Khaleda Zia held elections without voters? There was no word against the election of Ziaur Rahman. I didn't see any concern about Ershad's election as well. Suddenly, during this election, they became very impatient".
"They suddenly became very eager for election this time.... their men started coming (to Bangladesh) one after another. Why? What is the reason? Now BNP, who killed so many people and was involved in the killing of the Father of the Nation, is now the apple of their eyes," she added.
Criticizing the BNP, Sheikh Hasina said, "We are doing works for the people of the country and this is the inner agony of many".
She added: "Not being able to loot, not being in power, not being able to exploit the people, not being able to play with the fate of the people, they are creating sensation about the election."
BNP doesn't want election, Sheikh Hasina said, adding, "How could BNP talk about elections? Khaleda Zia was ousted twice -- in 1996 and in January 2006 elections -- for vote rigging and stealing. Even then, how they talk about democracy again."
Noting that the BNP's two top leaders are convicted, she said BNP actually doesn't want election, rather they want to play with the fate of the people.
Mentioning that there was also an attempt to create unrest in the Chattogram Hill Tracts (CHT), the Prime Minister said, "After 20 years of conflict in CHT, I brought back peace after coming to power. There are also attempts to create various disturbances".
Alleging that they (without naming any country) want to put their favorite slaves in power, she said, "Since I know this, I understand how they will remove me from power and they will play with this place by putting some of their pet slaves. That is their effort, and I can understand it."
"I urge all the patriotic people of the country to be conscious to this end," she said.
Sheikh Hasina, also the eldest daughter of Bangabandhu, said, "I never think of assuming power by harming the people of Bangladesh. "I'm not greedy for power, nor was my father, to come to power selling the interest of the country and handing over the resources of the country's people to others".
Mentioning that BNP carried out massive destruction to this country, she said, "Now they (foreigners) are talking about them."
She continued: "Now we've to sit with them and talk to them. We know they (BNP) are killers, but we had to tolerate many things just for fulfilling the dream of my father and changing the fate of the people of this country".
The AL president in her firm voice said she won't allow anyone to play ducks and drakes with the fate of the people as long as she remains alive.
Not naming Dr Mohammad Yunus, Sheikh Hasina termed him a black sheep for engaging in the process of the withdrawal of the World Bank's fund from the Padma Bridge project.
She said he is an interest-monger, greedy for the post of Managing Director (of Grameen Bank) and he embezzled the money of workers, evaded taxes, sucked the blood of the poor by realizing high interests (of micro-credits) from them and opened business in foreign lands siphoning off money of the country.
Talking about the August 15 carnage, Sheikh Hasina said the women and children had not been killed in the Karbala tragedy, but the women and children were not spared in the August 15 tragedy.
Noting that her father dedicated his entire life for the people of the country, she said Bangabandhu made Bangladesh independent and rebuilt the war-ravaged country.
"When Bangladesh started the journey on the development trajectory, this most horrible blow came on," she said.