Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday held the BNP responsible for its polls debacle.
“The BNP got seven seats in the election only because of them. There is no fault on our part,” she told foreign election observers and the media at the Gono Bhaban.
Hasina alleged that the BNP indulged in nomination trade and put its nominations on auction. Many competent BNP candidates who had good prospects of winning the polls were left out, she added.
“They had just indulged in trade while picking their candidates. What can you expect from them? That's the question. People gave their mandate in favour of us.”
Responding to a query, the PM said the priority of her new government would be to complete the projects that have already been taken up. “We've endorsed different projects; we will have to work on them. Now, the most important thing is to ensure the safety and security of our people.”
She said the first priority would be to continue the economic activities so that people might get a better life.
Many Awami League men were killed by the BNP-Jamaat men during the polls although the AL was the ruling party, the PM said. “They attacked our people, tried to snatch ballot papers and boxes in a bid to foil the election. Our law enforcement agencies and people were very alert to that. That's why they couldn't become successful in their attempts.”
The AL chief also questioned BNP's intention to participate in the general election. “What will you try to do usually when you participate in an election? You'll try to project your candidates. But they did nothing. We're really very surprised that they sat relaxed and there was no activity.”
Hasina mentioned that only a few BNP candidates were active in the field which surprised her party. “Because, we never saw a candidate sitting like this in an election...they only used their mobile phones to seek votes and that's all. There was no campaign beyond that. What did they want to do?”
She said it was likely that the BNP-led Jatiya Oikyafront participated in the election to show that it was not credible or they had something else in their mind as “hatching conspiracies was in their character”.
The Oikyafront was in a dilemma about choosing its prime ministerial candidate if they won the election, the PM said. “This is another thing for which people didn't vote for them.”
Terming Sunday's election “very important” for the country, the premier said people had the chance to cast their votes. “I think it was a very peaceful election except for some incidents where some of our party workers were killed by the opposition. I'm really very sorry for that. But I always appreciate our law enforcement agencies and our people. They worked very hard to hold the election in a peaceful manner.”
About the polls results, she said the verdict came as a good opportunity for the government to continue the country's development.
“People are getting the benefits of what we did in the last 10 years. They're also getting a better life. I'm very much hopeful that this will improve further in our next tenure.”
Remembering the “BNP-Jamaat's terrorist activities”, including arson attacks and burning people alive during and after the 2014 election, Hasina said people rejected them in the election for that.
Regarding some social menaces, the PM said she would not allow militant activities, drug abuse, terrorism and corruption in the country. “These are the main enemies of a society. We declared zero tolerance to terrorism, drug abuse and corruption. We'll do our best to save our people from these.”
Enquired by a BBC journalist about stuffing of a ballot box, she questioned whether he was sure which boxes those were. “That did not happen during this election; it was from a previous election. I think it was from a mayoral election when they were taking ballot boxes for counting ballots. That picture was published. I don't believe that kind of an incident happened this time.”
She said had there been any such allegation, the Election Commission would have cancelled voting in that particular polling centre immediately.
The PM said her party never believed in politics of revenge.
She alleged that the BNP-Jamaat men had killed AL leaders and workers, raped girls, tortured women and demolished houses of her party supporters after the 2001 election. “They had also captured businesses of Awami League leaders, looted their houses and tortured people.”
ANOTHER WIN IN MONTH OF VICTORY
Hasina yesterday said the Grand Alliance's win in the national election was another victory for the country's people in the month of victory (December).
She made the remarks when political leaders as well as senior officials of the civil and military administrations greeted her at her office, marking the AL's reelection.
The PM said this victory was not for her personal gains; rather it gave a bigger responsibility towards the country and its people.
She said the AL's reelection was a great opportunity to serve the country and materialise the dreams of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman through completing his unfinished tasks.
She extended her greetings to the people on the occasion of the New Year.
The political leaders and officials greeted the premier by presenting her bouquets. They include Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, PM's advisers Toufique-e Elahi Chowdhury and Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, her principal secretary, press secretary, cabinet secretary, public administration secretary, the chiefs of the three services, the inspector general of police and BGB and Rab DGs.
PM's younger sister Sheikh Rehana and daughter Saima Wazed Hossain were present.