Awami League President Sheikh Hasina yesterday asked her party's newly elected lawmakers not to misuse their position to make a fortune or serve their personal interests.
Pointing to her party's landslide victory in the last three elections, she also called on them not to consider themselves “very powerful”. Instead, Hasina asked them to be humble and stand beside the people.
“People who remain in power for long become monsters. But we shouldn't be monsters. Rather, we will have to be humbler because of the trust the people put in us by giving their huge support in the election,” Hasina said, while addressing the Awami League Parliamentary Party's maiden meeting after the 11th parliamentary election.
Six AL MPs separately confirmed her speech at the meeting, held after the oath-taking ceremony of the MPs-elect at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban around 11:00am.
Hasina, also the sitting prime minister, was the lone speaker at the ALPP meeting, which adopted a resolution unanimously electing her the ALPP chief for a third straight term.
Out of the 257 newly elected AL MPs, 256 were present.
After her reelection, Hasina said it would be her last tenure as ALPP chief. Her party colleagues protested this, shouting: “No, no.”
They said they wanted her to hold the post as long as she lived, sources said.
Hasina was first made ALPP chief after her party's win in 1996.
Hours after the ALPP meeting yesterday, Hasina met President Abdul Hamid at the Bangabhaban around 4:20pm.
As is the norm, the president invited the AL chief to form a new government as she has support of majority MPs of her party, president's Press Secretary Joynal Abedin told The Daily Star.
The PM and her cabinet members will take oath at 3:30pm on January 7 at the Bangabhaban, he added.
It was the first meeting between Hasina and Hamid after Awami League's victory in December 30 election.
Major opposition parties, including the BNP-led Jatiya Oikyafront, rejected the election results citing “widespread irregularities and ballot stuffing”. Yesterday, they submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission, demanding a fresh election under a nonpartisan government.
The ruling AL and the EC termed the election free and fair, and denied that the election was rigged.
In Sunday's election, the AL won 257 seats while the BNP-led Oikyafront got just seven seats.
In all, the AL-led grand alliance bagged 288 seats, including the 22 won by the Jatiya Party, which took part in the election under the banner of the ruling alliance.
In her speech at the ALPP meeting, Hasina told her colleagues, “We are in power now, but remember that it is not permanent…. If we stand by the people, nobody will be able to resist us.
“We have won three consecutive landslide victories. But do not consider yourselves more powerful now. Rather behave humbly with the countryman.”
She also said her party's main challenge would be to fulfil the pledges in the election manifesto.
“So work sincerely,” she asked her party lawmakers, and warned them against indulging in corruption.
“Now we will not consider who voted in favour of boat or not. We are representatives of all. We are MPs for all. We will work for everyone's development,” Hasina was quoted by an MP elected from Tangail.
She also said people gave a befitting reply to Oikyafront, by not voting for them, as the opposition alliance joined the election with Jamaat-e-Islami, a party that opposed the country's Liberation War.
289 MPS TAKE OATH
Newly elected MPs of the AL, Jatiya Party and other parties as well as independent ones were sworn in at four separate sessions yesterday.
Outgoing Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury first took oath (administered by herself) as an MP and then administered the oath to other AL MPs at the Oath Room of the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban.
Later, the Speaker administered the oath to the MPs of Jatiya Party, Workers' Party, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Bikalpadhara Bangladesh, Jatiya Party (Manju) and Tarikat Federation as well as the independent MPs.
Deposed military ruler and JP Chairman HM Ershad and AL Presidium Member Syed Ashraful Islam did not take oath yesterday due to their illness. Ershad, who is now PM Hasina's special envoy, may take oath today, parliament secretariat sources said.
Ashraf, who was under treatment at a Bangkok hospital, died last night.
Oikyafront spokesperson and BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said that seven MPs elected with Oikyafront tickets will not take oath.
Under the law, MPs-elect should take oath within three days after publication of the gazette. If anyone fails to take oath within 90 days of the first parliament session, their seats will fall vacant.