BNP itself responsible for its election debacle, says PM

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Desk Report:

Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday held BNP responsible for its debacle in the national election.

“BNP got only seven seats in the election only because of them. There’s no fault from our part,” she said while talking to foreign election observers and media at her official residence Ganobhaban.

The Prime Minister said BNP indulged in nomination trade and put their nominations on auction. “As a result, many competent candidates who had good prospect to win the election were left out.”

“They’d just indulged in trade while choosing their candidates. What can you expect from them? That’s the question. People gave their mandate in favour of us,” she said.

Responding to a query, Sheikh Hasina said the priority of her new government in the next five years will be to complete the programmes that have already been taken. “We’ve okayed different projects, we’ve to work on them. Now, the most important thing is to ensure the safety and security of our people.”

She said the first priority will be to continue the economic activities so that people may have a better life.

Many Awami League members were killed by the BNP-Jamaat men during the election although it is the ruling party, the Prime Minister said. “They attacked our people, tried to snatch ballot papers and ballot boxes in a bid to foil the election. Our law enforcement agencies and people were very much alert about that. That’s why they couldn’t succeed in their attempts.”

Hasina also questioned BNP’s intention to participate in the 11th general election. “What will you try to do usually when you participate in the election? You’ll try to project your candidates. But they (BNP) did nothing. We’re really very much surprised that they sat relaxed and there’s no activity,” she said.

The AL chief mentioned that only few of their candidates were active in the field which surprised the ruling party. “Because, we never saw a candidate sitting like this in the election…they used their mobile phones only to seek votes and that’s all. There’s no campaign beyond that. What did they want to do?”

Hasina said it is likely that the BNP-led Jatiya Oikyafront just participated in the election to show that it was not credible or they had something else in their mind as hatching conspiracy is their character.”

The AL chief also mentioned that the Oikyafront was in dilemma about choosing its prime ministerial candidate if they win the election. “This is another thing for which people didn’t vote for them.”

Terming Sunday’s election ‘very important’ for the country, the Prime Minister said people had the chance to cast their votes. “I think it was a very peaceful election barring some incidents where some of our party workers were killed by the opposition. I’m really very sorry for that. But I always appreciate our law enforcement agencies and also our people. They worked very hard to hold the election in a peaceful manner.”

About the election results, she said the verdict that AL has received is a good opportunity for the government to continue the development of the country “because the economic development is very important for our country.”

“People are getting the benefits of what we did in the last 10 years. They’re also getting better life day by day. I’m very much hopeful that this will improve further in our coming tenure,” Sheikh Hasina said.

Briefly describing various development projects of the government taken for the welfare of the common people, she said people wanted the continuation of the present government for this reason.

Recalling BNP-Jamaat’s terrorist activities, including arson attacks and burning people alive during the 2014 election and afterwards, Hasina said that is why people rejected them in the election. “Now, people think these parties are terrorist parties and everybody knows about corruption committed by them.”

Hasina also said she always believes that without a democratic system and democratic process, one cannot make the real progress. “That’s my perception and that’s our ideology, too. That’s why I think democracy or democratic system should continue so that we can make progress.”

Regarding some social menaces, the Prime Minister firmly said she will not allow terrorist activities, drug abuse, terrorism and corruption in Bangladesh. “These are the main enemies of a society. We declared zero tolerance to terrorism, drug abuse and corruption. We’ll do our best to save our people from these.”

Responding to a query from a BBC journalist about a ballot box stuffed with ballot papers, she questioned whether he got sure which ballot boxes are these. “That was not during this election, it was from the past election. I think it was from the mayoral election when they’re taking the ballot boxes for counting. That picture was published. I don’t believe that kind of thing happened this time.”

Hasina termed the video broadcast in the BBC ‘fabricated’, saying it had some old pictures. “If there had been any allegation, the Election Commission would have cancelled voting in the centre immediately.”

Replying to another question, she said her party never believes in politics of taking revenge. “Rather, Awami League works for the development of people considering them as human being once it gets elected.”

Reminding the bitter experience after the 2001 election, the Prime Minister said the BNP-Jamaat men killed leaders and workers of Awami League, raped girls, tortured women and demolished supporter’s houses of her party men. “They had also captured businesses of Awami League leaders, looted their houses and tortured the people,” she added.unb

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