“People are the source of power…we all need to be aware that no one can play with the rights of the common people. They don’t want to return to the 1/11 situation again,” she said while addressing a civic reception at Hotel Marriot Marquis.
Bangladesh Awami League, US chapter, arranged the reception in honor of the prime minister, who is now in New York to attend the 67th UN General Assembly.
The prime minister said the government through the 15th amendment to the constitution has made it clear that no one will be able to grab state power, and if anyone does so, he or she will have to face the music of law.
“We must strengthen democracy and take it forward for the welfare of the country and its people,” she said.
Recalling various incidents that occurred during the previous caretaker governments, Hasina said BNP with the controversial February 15, 1996 election had formed the government at midnight with so many culprits, including the killers of Bangabandhu.
The last caretaker government, she said, showed that they can stay in power for an indefinite period. “And in this case, one world reputed Bangladeshi lawyer had helped them a lot saying there is no time binding for a caretaker government.”
Mentioning the bitter experiences of the past caretaker government, Hasina said the Fakhruddin-led government had wanted to cling to power. “They hatched various conspiracies to hang onto power, but they were compelled to hold election under local and international pressures.”
Claiming that her government has ensured the basic rights of people, including their franchise, Sheikh Hasina said now it is up to people to choose either the path of development or militancy in the next general election.
“I don’t have anything to say now…we’ve ensured the fundamental and voting rights of people. Now it is their decision to choose their path,” she told her audience.
Hasina said that now people have to decide whether they want militancy, terrorism, ‘Hawa Bhaban’ and ‘Khoab Bhaban’ or the path of development.
The prime minister said the present government has proved that it is possible to hold free, fair and credible elections under a party government.
She mentioned that her government, in its current tenure, has so far held some 6000 elections at different levels across the country. “There has been no question against the elections,” she pointed out.
The prime minister said if her party is voted to power again, the government would undertake the 7th five-year plan by implementing the sixth five-year plan.
“We want to build Bangladesh a middle-income country by 2021,” she said.
Reiterating her government’s firm stance against terrorism and militancy, Sheikh Hasina said the government would never tolerate these social menaces.
“We want to build Bangladesh a peaceful nation in South Asia. We also want to build a non-communal and democratic Bangladesh being imbued with the spirit of the War of Liberation,” she said.
Listing various successes and achievements of the present government in different fields, including agriculture, education, health, women empowerment, food security and social safety net, Sheikh Hasina said people get better services and their comforts are restored when Awami League comes to power.
She said her government, since assuming of office in 2009, has been working tirelessly to mitigate various problems of the country, including the acute electricity crisis.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has been able to maintain over six percent of GDP growth in the last three years despite global economic meltdown, while the country’s foreign currency reserve has increased to 11 billion US dollars from six billion in 2009.
Hasina said there had been transactions of over Tk 42,000 crore during the Eid-ul-Fitr shopping this time, which is a bright example of enhancement of the living standard of people.
Recalling the contributions of the expatriate Bangladeshis to the country’s development, the prime minister said the economy remains on the right track, thanks to the immense contributions of the expatriates.
“The expatriates are the main driving force of the country and they advanced the country a lot economically,” she said.
Chaired by AL, US chapter President Dr Siddiqur Rahman, the function was addressed, among others, by Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni, eminent IT expert Sajib Wazed Joy, US congresswoman Caroline Malony, Jatiya Party US unit President Jashimuddin Chowdhury, JSD US chapter president Abdul Mosabbir and New York City AL General Secretary Shaheen Alam.
At the function, Unesco director general Irina Bukova unveiled the cover of a book titled ‘Philosophy of Statesman Sheikh Hasina’.
Bangladesh Awami Jubo League published the bilingual book on the occasion of the 65th birthday of Sheikh Hasina.