Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday asked the leaders and activists of her party's youth front Jubo League to go to their villages and work for boosting farm production to offset any impact of global food crisis.
"I would like to ask every activist and leader of Jubo League to go to your village and ensure that no land remains uncultivated," she said.
The premier was addressing a grand youth rally arranged in the city's historic Suhrawardy Udyan to mark the golden jubilee of Bangladesh Jubo League, the youth wing of Bangladesh Awami League.
On November 11, 1972, Sheikh Fazlul Haque Mani had formed Bangladesh Awami Jubo League at the directive of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Hasina, also the AL president, said the price of every commodity has soared in the world market due to the Ukraine war, sanctions and counter sanctions.
"We should not remain dependent on others rather we should be self-reliant. So, I've been asking everyone not to leave even an inch of land uncultivated," she said in her first physical appearance at a public rally since the outbreak Covid-19 pandemic two years ago.
She said leaders and activists of Jubo League and other associate organisations of Awami League helped the farmers in harvesting their crops during the Covid-19 pandemic responding to her call.
"Now we'll have to stand beside the people as well," she said asking Jubo League members to cultivate own lands and help others to produce food and other crops in their lands.
"You'll have to serve the country and its people," the prime minister told the huge rally, many of its attendants in colourful t-shirts and bandanas.
Hasina also asked the Jubo League activists to work for eradicating terrorism, militancy, drug and corruption and keep the youth away from such social diseases.
"Every leader and activist will have to promise and work accordingly as well as develop such spirit among other youths in this regard," she said.
Our economy is still strong: PM
The PM criticised those who earlier thought that Bangladesh would face the fate of Sri Lanka.
"Our economy is still strong enough. Many individuals thought Bangladesh would be a Sri Lanka….. But ashes fell on their faces," she said.
Coming down heavily on BNP, she said now many BNP leaders are talking about money laundering, plundering and corruption, though their leader Tarique Rahman was convicted in a money laundering case.
She said Tarique Zia was sentenced to seven-year jail term and fined Tk 20 crore in a money laundering case as well as awarded life-sentence in the August 21 grenade attack case.
"It is not decent for those, whose leader is accused in killing, money laundering, illegal arms smuggling cases, to criticize the Awami League.
In an oblique reference to BNP leader Khaleda Zia, the PM said if any country is run by a person who studied only up to Class-8, and failed to pass the matriculation exams, it makes no progress.
She said Bangladesh has witnessed massive development in the last 14 years. Now none can neglect Bangladesh in international arena.
The PM said today Bangladesh is marching forward overcoming many hurdles. "We've been able to raise the per capita income to 2,824 US dollar," she said.
She said the size of the national budget was only Tk 64,000 crore during the BNP regime, which jumped to over Tk 678,000 crore in the 2022-23 fiscal. "How could we place such a big budget unless there was no progress achieved?" she added.
On PM's arrival at the venue, Jubo League chairman Sheikh Fazle Shams Parash and its general secretary Mainul Hossain Khan Nikhil received her.
Sheikh Hasina opened the rally by releasing pigeons and balloons.
She uncovered a special publication and unveiled a logo on the occasion of the golden jubilee celebration, as well as opened the website of Jubo League.
The premier was given a golden jubilee crest and two separate paintings on Bangabandhu.
AL general secretary Obaidul Quader, and former Jubo League chairmen Amir Hossain Amu, Fazlul Karim Selim and Jahangir Kabir Nanak also spoke on the occasion.
Sheikh Parash presided over the rally, moderated by Nikhil.