The ruling Awami League and its main challenger Jatiya Oikyafront formally kicked off electioneering yesterday for their parliamentary aspirants in the December 30 polls. AL President Sheikh Hasina began her party's campaign by paying homage to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at his grave by placing a wreath and offered prayers there. In the other camp, a delegation-led by Dr Kamal Hossain launched the campaign for the alliance by offering prayers at the Shrine of Hazrat Shahjalal in Sylhet.
Terming the coming election crucial, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday sought another chance for the Awami League to serve the country.
“The country is moving forward with the spirit of Liberation War. We want another chance so that the progress of Bangladesh doesn't falter and our people can stand in the international arena holding their head high,” she said at a public rally at the ground of Sheikh Lutfor Rahman Government College in Kotalipara.
She expressed hope that people would vote for “boat” on December 30.
With this rally, the AL chief formally launched her party's campaign for the 11th parliamentary polls.
The PM said people would have to cast votes for “boat” to give a fitting reply to those who had joined hands with anti-liberation forces, war criminals, convicts, arsonists, and made them election candidates.
Mentioning that Bangladesh would celebrate the golden jubilee of its independence in 2021, she said, “We don't want to see war criminals, anti-liberation forces, murderers and arsonists in power at that time. They will destroy the country and the spirit of the Liberation War.”
Hasina said the AL would build a hunger- and poverty-free Sonar Bangla as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
She said the government would celebrate Bangabandhu's birth centenary in 2020 and it had already declared 2020-2021 as the “Mujib Barsha”.
The country's people got independence and rights to their mother tongue by casting votes for “boat” in the past, the PM told the rally.
Highlighting various successes of the two AL-led governments in the last 10 years, she said they were implementing projects one after another. “As a result, huge employment opportunities have been created in the country which in turn helped reduce the poverty rate.”
The PM said the government had attached highest importance to education to create an educated nation. Besides, over 93 percent people had already come under electricity coverage.
She reiterated that the aim of her government was to supply electricity to every house of the country.
The AL president said she was doing nothing for her personal gain. “What I have been doing is materialising the dream of the Father of the Nation through establishing a Bangladesh free of poverty and hunger.”
Hasina's younger sister Sheikh Rehana, AL leaders Sheikh Abdullah, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Abdur Rahman, Bahauddin Nasim, Afzal Hossain and film stars Reaz and Ferdous were present at the programme, chaired by Kotalipara AL President Subash Joy Dhar.
Earlier in the day, Hasina started her road journey to Kotalipara from the Gono Bhaban around 8:22am.
After arriving at Kotalipara at 2:10pm, she paid homage to the Father of the Nation at his mausoleum by placing two wreaths as the PM and the AL chief.
On her way back to Dhaka today, she is expected to address rallies at Bhanga circle in Faridpur, Faridpur circle, Rajbari road circle, Manikganj bus stand, on the premises of Rabeya Medical College and Hospital in Dhamrai and Savar bus stand.