PM calls “boat” symbol of independence, development


 RAJSHAHI, Feb 22, 2018 (BSS) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today termed her Awami League’s logo “boat” as the symbol of Bangladesh’s independence and development, seeking peoples support for it in the next local body and national elections.

“The boat of Prophet Nuh (SM) had saved people from disaster and (our election symbol) boat awarded us the independence and led the nation towards development,” she told a mammoth public rally at this northwestern divisional city.

The premier urged the people to vote for “boat” in the upcoming local government and general elections to keep up the current trend of development and spirit of independence describing her call as “my ardent appeal to you all”.

Rajshahi district and city unit of Awami League staged the rally at the city’s Madrasa Maidan with city AL President AHM Khairuzzaman Liton in the chair while the party’s presidium member and health minister Mohammad Nasim, joint general secretaries Mahbub-up-Alam Hanif, Dr Dipu Moin and Jahangir Kabir Nanak, among others, spoke.

Sheikh Hasina, who also heads the Awami League, said all these elections would be held with party symbols and “I seek your votes also to let people live in peace and happiness”.

“We want to build a hunger and poverty free, prosperous Sonar Bangla as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,” she added.

Sheikh Hasina blasted the opposition outside parliament BNP for waging movement to defend their party chief, calling it a campaign for “a thief” convicted of emblazing orphans money.

“This movement is for a thief (Khaleda). It is also forbidden in the Holy Quran to embezzle fund of the orphans . . . so she is now paying the price and suffering the punishment,” she said.

The premier also wondered about the location of the orphanage and number of orphans there for whom the fund was raised and said “Khaleda along with her family members and her party men grasp the money meant for the orphans”.

She said Khaleda Zia brought funds from abroad to set up the orphanage long 27 years back but never set it up and rather plundered that fund.

“That fund did not go to the orphans . . . so the Anti Corruption Commission filed the case and she (Khaleda) eventually was punished in that case,” the premier said.

Sheikh Hasina said, looting and plundering, however, symbolized BNP’s character as Bangladesh became champions for five consecutive times during their tenure in power while her incumbent government managed to repatriate the money siphoned out by the ex-premier’s sons from abroad.

The Prime Minister said despite their frantic efforts the past caretaker government failed to find any irregularity in the operations of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Memorial Trust.

The trust was set up to assist the students, injured of the August 21 grenade attack and the distressed AL leaders and workers.


The premier said whenever Awami League was elected to power the country
witnessed massive development benefitting its peoples while darkness and
destruction featured the past BNP rules as their motto was to plunder

“If anyone fails to overcome the greed to embezzle orphans money, how he
or she could offer something to people,” she said.

The premier said Ziaur Rahman died in 1981 leaving nothing but a broken
suitcase and a torn ‘genji’ but in few subsequent years the Zia family
amassed cash and property worth hundreds of crores of taka and at a certain
stage started to siphoning off the money abroad.

Sheikh Hasina alleged that they had procured sets of marine vessels giving
those names like Coko 1 and Coko 2, set up Dandy Dyeing Industry, took bank
loans of Taka 900 crore not refunded ever.

“Simultaneously they (BNP) were resorted to looting, corruption, terrorism,
militancy and even created ‘Bangla Bhai’ and thus snatched away the peoples’
peace,” she said.

The premier said no mayor could do what Awami League’s Khairuzzaman Liton
did for the development of the old divisional city of Rajshahi though her
government also provided sufficient fund to the BNP-supported mayor this time
to continue the development campaign.

“We didn’t stop development here, but they (BNP mayor and councilors)
failed . . . they failed because their minds are always filled with the
mindset of looting,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina added: “If their leader embezzles the orphans’ fund what the
followers will deliver, please judge this.”

The premier urged people to recall how the unbridled corruption, looting,
terrorism, militancy shook the country and particularly Rajshahi region
during the BNP tenure.

“This region was turned into a den of terrorists, militants and ‘Bangla
Bhai’,” she said adding that simultaneously entire country witnessed serial
bombings at 500 points in 2005 alone as BNP “played ducks and drakes with the
peoples fate”.

The premier also reminded the rally the violent street campaign
spearheaded by BNP and its crucial ally Jamaat to upset the January 5
elections and in subsequent years claiming hundreds of lives through arson
and bomb attacks.

Taking a swipe over the BNP claims that Ziaur Rahman reintroduced
multiparty democracy in the country; Sheikh Hasina said Zia’s multiparty
democracy featured leaders who were war criminals and killers of Father of
the Nation.

“He had made them prime ministers, ministers and advisers while curfews
were enforced every night in his (Zia’s) tenure . . . then, how come he
established democracy,” the premier said.

The premier announced that a medical university would be set up in
Rajshahi while works were underway to set up an ICT Park for the people of
the region.

She highlighted various achievements and successes of her government in
various socio-economic fields over the last nine years.

“Some 2.03 crore students across the country are now getting stipends, some
35,42,90,162 textbooks are being distributed free of cost students on the
first day of the year, some 10 lakh Bangladeshi workers went abroad over the
last one year while the country has already entered into 4G world,” she said.

Moreover, the premier said, Bangladesh’s power generation capacity now
rose to 16000 MW while by 2021, every household of the country would get