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Boat a symbol of peace: PM

The Daily Dawn

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged the people to vote for ‘boat’, the electoral symbol of Awami League, to continue with the country’s ongoing development.
“Boat has been seen as a symbol of peace and saviour since Prophet Noah’s time. I seek vote for boat in the next general election. This symbol is associated with development, so I seek your votes…”
Hasina made the call at a mammoth public rally at a government madrasa playground on Thursday afternoon.
Vehemently criticising the anti-state role of the former BNP-led government, she said during the BNP-Jamaat rule, the country, particularly Rajshahi, turned into a safe haven for terrorists.
“Bangla Bhai was their creation. People failed to sleep peacefully at night at that time. They [BNP] failed to make any development of the country, rather they terrorised and bombarded people,” said Hasina.
After clinging to power, BNP became world champion in corruption five times. Khaleda’s sons plundered and smuggled crores of taka out of the country.
“Why did BNP launch a movement? Was it for the thieves? It is banned in the holy Quran to misappropriate money of orphans. Khaleda failed to repay the money to the orphans in the past 27 years, rather she and her cohorts had used and enjoyed the money with interest. What is the address of the orphanage?” asked Hasina.
The PM said BNP chairperson was serving jail now because she resorted to corruption.

Prime Minister further said, “During the rule of BNP, many AL leaders and activists were killed brutally by BNP goons and Shibir cadres. They severed tendons of Chhatra League leaders and activists and killed then. We have seen how people suffered from the atrocities of BNP-Jamaat. Not only they killed our leaders and activists, but they also gang-raped a small child. They presented people of Rajshahi with corpse and dead bodies.”

During the BNP tenure, people failed to walk freely and could not come out of their houses in panic as they created Bangla Bhai and unleashed a reign of terror, whereas Awami League came as a blessing for people.

The premier said AL was working for public welfare, but BNP works to feed their own parochial interests. “Nobody can prove any anomaly against Awami League.”

Hasina elaborated the welfare-oriented activities of Bangabandhu Memorial Trust. In an oblique reference to BNP, she said, “We develop, but they (BNP) destroy. They have burnt thousands of buses and trucks, burnt humans alive…”

Citing some development activities of the present government, she said AL started old-age allowance, widow allowance, freedom fighters’ allowance and such.

More than 6.4 (64 lakh) people were getting various allowances and 70,000 disabled were also getting the allowance. Stipend is being given for poor students.

More than 35.42 crore books have been distributed free of cost to more 4.42 crore students, she mentioned.

The AL president said an ICT Park is being built in Rajshahi, one million people were sent abroad with jobs, 4G service has already been introduced and health care is being served with 30 types of drugs through 18,000 clinics.

She mentioned there was an outcry for electricity during BNP rule but AL government has now produced 16,000 megawatt of electricity.

Hasina said AL increased power production in 1996 and left the country with 4,300 megawatt of electricity, but BNP later dropped production. They rather offered the country with ‘khamba’ (electric poles).

To this end, Hasina said electricity will reach every house of the country by 2021.

Hasina said Rajshahi has got gas connections, 100 special economic zones are being set up in the country, farmers can open bank accounts and transact money for Tk 10 only.

Farmers are getting agricultural loan without any collateral and more than 20 million farmers are being benefitted from this programme. There was no poverty and want of food now in the country.

People can now have two fair meals. Young men of the country were getting training and collateral-free loan up to Tk 2 lakh.

When Ziaur Rahman had died, Hasina said, he had left with a broken suitcase and a torn vest, but BNP chairperson and her sons later borrowed Tk 900 crore from banks and kept unpaid and plundered millions.

Chaired by Awami League’s Rajshahi metropolitan unit president AHM Khairuzzaman Liton, the meeting was addressed, among others, by AL leaders Mohammad Nasim, Jahangir Kabir Nanok, Mahbubul Alam Hanif, Abdur Rahman, Dr Dipu Moni, Shahriar Alam, BM Mozammel Hoque, Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, Abu Sayed Al Mahmud Swapon, Prof Dr Abdul Khaleque and Prof Dr Saidur Rahman Khan,  Workers Party leader Fazley Hossain Badsha and lawmakers Omar Faruque Chowdhury, Ayen Uddin, Engineer Enamul Haque, Abdul Wadud Dara, Akhter Jahan, Nurul Islam Thandu, Doublu Sarker and Asaduzzaman Asad.

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