Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said Bangladesh will be governed as per the spirit of the speech Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had delivered on his historic Homecoming Day in 1972.
"The Father of the Nation on his Homecoming Day on 10 January, 1972 delivered his policymaking speech and ideological directives for governing the country. We've to go ahead with that ideology; we've to advance the country with that. And the pace of development in Bangladesh must not be stalled, no matter what," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said this while addressing a discussion meeting here, marking the historic Homecoming Day of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Awami League arranged the discussion at its Bangabandhu Avenue central office.
AL President Sheikh Hasina presided over the discussion, joining it from her official residence Ganabhaban.
She said Awami League has been in power for three consecutive terms elected by people. "Had we not been elected by people then we wouldn't be able to come to power for three consecutive terms and complete 13 years [in power]. This is the reality. This reality has to be accepted," she said.
If AL remains in power, the wheels of development will be moving, Hasina said, adding that those who had made Bangladesh a place of killers, war criminals and corruption, there will be no place for them in this land. "This (message) has to be clearly conveyed to them."
The PM reaffirmed her stance that no one will be allowed to play ducks and drakes with the rights of people.
Recalling the tumultuous days during the rule of Father of the Nation after independence, she said some people had written columns criticising the government of Bangabandhu, or created the volatile situation in the country in the name of a movement or scientific socialism. "What did they actually want to do? That's my question but I didn't get the answer yet," she said.
Coming down heavily on a section of people, she said, it is the habit of a class of people to criticise all good works of Awami League.
"Those who never wanted the Independence of the country, those who had run the country taking killers and war criminals with them and wanted to destroy the development of Bangladesh, some of their ghosts are still in society and in the political arena. They're exercising these unnecessary whims," she said.
Regarding the allegation of wasting money in the name of development activities, she said if thousands of crores of Taka had been wasted in the name of development, then how Bangladesh became the role model of development in the world.
Briefly describing various success stories of the country in the last 13 years, Hasina said many developed and rich countries are not providing coronavirus vaccines free of cost.
"We're providing vaccines completely free of cost. So far, 13 crore people have been vaccinated."
She renewed her call to all to take vaccines to remain protected from the deadly virus. "And there's no shortage of vaccines."
Hasina put emphasis on maintaining the pace of development gained during the last 13 years under the Awami League government.
"We've to materialise the dream of the Father of the Nation to make a hunger- and poverty-free developed and prosperous Bangladesh. We've to take that vow," she said.
AL publicity and publication secretary Dr Abdus Sobhan Golap conducted the discussion.
AL presidium members Matia Chowdhury, Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Abdur Rahman and AHM Khairuzzaman Liton, AL joint secretaries Dr Dipu Moni, Dr Hassan Mahmud and AFM Bahauddin Nasim, AL central committee member Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, AL organising secretary Mirza Azam, Dhaka South AL president Abu Ahmed Mannafi and Dhaka North AL president Sheikh Bazlur Rahman also spoke at the programme.
On 10 January, 1972, Bangabandhu returned to independent Bangladesh via London and New Delhi after 290 days of captivity in a Pakistan jail.
Recalling the disturbance that had been created in the post-independent period during Bangabandhu's regime, Sheikh Hasina said the people who wrote columns criticizing the government of Father of the Nation or created unstable situation in the country in the name of movement or scientific socialism, actually what they had wanted to do.
She added: "That is my question . . . still not gets the answer of that question," she said.
The premier also criticized the attitude of a section of people, saying indeed it's the habit of that group to criticize all good works of Awami League.
She noted: "Those who never wanted independence of the country, those who had run the country taking killers and war criminals with them and wanted to destroy development of Bangladesh, some of their cohorts are still in the society and in the political arena. They are making these unnecessary whims."
About the allegation of wasting money in the name of development activities, she said if thousands of crores of Taka are spoiled in the name of development, then how Bangladesh became the role model of development before the world.
Highlighting various success stories of the country in the last 13 years, she said that many developed and rich countries are not giving Covid-19 vaccine free of cost.
"We are providing the jabs fully free and so far over 13 crore people have been brought under the inoculation," she said.
The head of government renewed her call all of the countrymen to receive vaccine to be remained protected from the lethal virus, saying "there is no scarcity of vaccine."
Sheikh Hasina called for maintaining the pace of development that gained during the last 13 years under the Awami League government.
"We have to materialize the dream of the Father of the Nation to turn the country into a hunger-poverty-free developed and prosperous Sonar Bangla," she said and urged all to take this vow
Mentioning that Father of the Nation had taught them to love the country and its people, Sheikh Hasina said: "When he (Bangabandhu) returned the country on January 10, he said that the people of this country will get food, clothes and a better life, and this is our ideology."
She also strongly condemned the misrule of BNP-Jamaat, mockery of Ziaur Rahman in the name of election as well as anti-national conspiracy and propaganda against Bangladesh at home and abroad.
The premier said that she would like to tell them, who are looking for corruption today, try to remember how much corruption had been taken place in Bangladesh since 2001 as they had siphoned off hundreds of crores of Taka abroad through corruption, made Bangladesh world champion in corruption five times as well as created militancy and "Bangla Bhai".
She also urged them, who are talking about loan defaulters today, to know the aspects that Ziaur Rahman has created a culture of loan defaulters in this country to create an elite class after grabbing power.
She continued that during the BNP's regime there was a budget of Taka 64,000 crore, but the present government has raised it to over Taka six lakh crore, which would not have been possible without economic development of the country.
Sheikh Hasina questioned: "If money was not spent, then how the vast work had been completed?"
She went on saying that those who raised question today regarding election might have forgotten the history of the past.
During the BNP regime, she said, the Awami League leaders and activists were tortured along with vandalism and arson attack on their homes in the name of the election and manipulated the vote of people which is known to all.
The country's people don't let anyone without punishment that lesson has been received BNP leader Khaleda Zia in 1996 when they stole votes, she said, adding that she (Khaleda) had to go to the President to submit resignation from the post of Prime Minister after taking permission of people.
The premier said: "Today we've made Digital Bangladesh and using that platform they are spreading misinformation against us at home and abroad. Those who can't tolerate the development of Bangladesh, they often say nothing has happened, nothing has happened."