Prime Minister and Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina sought vote for her party's electoral symbol 'boat' at a massive rally in Chattogram's historic Polo Ground Sunday (4 December).
"I want a promise from you that you will vote for boat in the next election and give the Awami League the chance to serve the country once again," said Sheikh Hasina.
The premier joined the grand rally organised by the Chattogram city, north and south district units of the Awami League after inaugurating 29 development projects and laying the foundation of six other schemes in the port city.
"All these development projects are my gift to you (Chattogram people)," she said, adding that the Awami League is the only government which has carried out tremendous development in Chattogram.
She pointed out that the Awami League-led government, in the past 19 years, has done development works worth Tk1.23 lakh crore in Chattogram.
Referring to the BNP, she said, "They don't want an election. They want something which will help them assume power after dislodging the Awami League government. They never bother what the people want."
The prime minister said that the economy of Bangladesh is stronger than many countries in the world.
"There is a shortage of electricity and fuel all over the world. Even so, the economy of Bangladesh is stronger than many countries in the world. We are trying so that the people of our country do not suffer. We had some trouble with electricity for some time, now that problem is gone. But I request you to be economical," she said.
Referring to the killing of innocent people by carrying out arson attacks in the name of movement from 2013-15 in which over 3,000 people were injured and 500 others burned to death, she asked, if anyone having minimum humanity can kill people in such a brutal way.
"The movement of the BNP means killing people. BNP has two virtues - killing of people and rigging the vote," she said.
The BNP never liked the democratic process for changing the government as its founder military dictator Ziaur Rahman captured the state power illegally after violating the country's constitution and killing hundreds of military officers and soldiers alongside Awami League leaders and workers to secure his stay in power.
Under the patronage of the BNP-Jamaat alliance government, Khaleda Zia and Tarique Zia, she said the August 21, 2004 grenade attack was carried out at the anti-terrorism AL rally to kill her and front ranking leaders of her party.
"I was saved by a human shield formed by the AL leaders. Such heinous attacks cannot take place without state patronage," she said.
As Sheikh Hasina got on the boat-shaped stage after 3pm, the mammoth gathering welcomed the Awami League president with roaring claps and chanting slogans.
Earlier in the morning the prime minister reached Chattogram on a day-long visit to join several programmes including the rally as part of her party's election campaign that started from Jashore to drum up public support in favour of them.
The next public meeting is scheduled to be held at the Sheikh Kamal International Stadium in Cox's Bazar on 7 December 7.
At the Chattogram rally, Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, its Presidium Members Engineer Mosharraf Hossain, Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Abdur Rahman, and Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, Bir Bikram, Joint General Secretaries, Mahbub-ul Alam Hanif, Information and Broadcasting Minister, Dr Hasan Mahmud and AFM Bahauddin Nasim and Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan, among others, spoke at the rally.
Chattogram City Awami League Acting President Mahtab Uddin Chowdhury presided over the meeting while former Chattogram City Corporation Mayor AJM Nasir Udding moderated it.
The Prime Minister said her government has been working to develop every area across the country to make sure the country's overall development and Bangladesh has achieved the status of a developing country due to the tireless efforts of her government.
"The country's overall development has been possible as her government was in power following the democratic process from 2009 till the date and Bangladesh is now becoming a developed country," she said.
Her government's target is to transform Bangladesh into a developed and prosperous country by 2041, she said.
Responding to the rumour over foreign reserve and liquidity in the banks, Sheikh Hasina said there is no problem over those as the current reserve of the foreign currency is $36 billion while the liquidity in the banks is good enough.
"So, don't pay heed to the rumour spread by the BNP and Jamaat clique as they like to mislead the people through spreading the rumour," she said.
Dhaka-Ctg highway will be six lanes: PM
The Dhaka-Chattogram highway, which became four lanes during the Awami League government, will be upgraded to six lanes, said the prime minister.
The 29 projects, to be implemented in Chattogram at a cost of Tk1,897.61 crore, include three projects under the water resource ministry, five under the technical and madrasah education division, 14 under the secondary and higher education division, two under the health service division, one under the industries ministry, one under the expatriate welfare and foreign employment ministry, one under the agriculture ministry and two projects under the shipping ministry.