Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has thanked the Opposition Leader Khaleda Zia for her decision to allow the BNP to take part in the election of four city corporations.
“And I hope, she will participate in the next general election also,” Hasina said at a views-exchanging meeting with Awami League leaders from Faridpur district at her official residence, Gono Bhaban.
She reiterated that the next general election of the country will be held as per the system practiced in all parliamentary democracies in the world.
"This time, the election will be free, neutral and fair."
She said the vote belongs to people and they will vote for the candidates of their choice.
“If they cast vote (in our favour), we will stay. Otherwise, we will be gone. It is quite clear.”
The Prime Minister said bringing the caretaker system back will be "inviting crocodiles by digging canals".
She said: “Once the opposition leader termed that only mad people and children are neutral, but now she is looking for such neutral people…any game with the democracy of the country will not be acceptable.”
Regarding the Election Commission (EC), Hasina said the present EC was formed after a series of consultations with all political parties by the then President Zillur Rahman and then he formed a search committee.
“We have trust the people and that’s why we did not interfere in that process,” she said, adding that the incumbent EC is financially independent.
She mentioned that during any election, the law enforcing agencies and public administration work under the jurisdiction of the Election Commission.
The intention of her government is not to rig vote, she insisted.
The main objective of her government is people’s empowerment and to establish the voting rights of people as it wants to see unhindered democracy in the country, Hasina said.
In this regard, she mentioned the holding of over 5,600 elections across the country including some parliamentary by-elections in free, fair, neutral and peaceful manner without any intervention from the ruling party.
“No allegation was raised about the results of these elections from any quarter,” she said.
Hasina alleged that the previous BNP-Jamaat government had turned the country into a haven of militancy and terrorism.
But, she said, her government contained these social menaces with iron hand and brightened the country’s image abroad.
She also accused the opposition leader of instigating the killing of innocent people, torching of vehicles and damage to public property in the name of movement.
She asked the Awami League leaders and workers to strengthen the party at the grassroots level and project to people the government’s successes over the last four and half years.
Hasina also called upon all including the party leaders to work together to turn Bangladesh into a middle income country by 2021 upholding the spirit of the Liberation War.