The Awami League grassroots yesterday called upon Sheikh Hasina to carry on the anti-corruption drive, saying it would help increase the party’s popularity and acceptability among people.
The call was made at a meeting of the AL National Committee at the Gono Bhaban in the evening.
Hasina, the prime minister and also AL president, assured them of continuing the drive her government launched in September, meeting sources told The Daily Star.
The grassroots leaders also requested Hasina to remain life-long president of the party but she kept mum, said the sources.
According to the AL charter, the National Committee must meet once a year. But yesterday’s meeting was convened after around three years, keeping in view the party’s 21st council slated for December 20-21.
The 180-member committee is comprised of 81 members of the AL Central Working Committee, 21 members nominated by the party chief, and one member each from 78 organisational districts.
Its main task is to make important decisions on national and international issues and approve the party’s decisions and expenditures.
Speaking at the meeting, some district leaders requested the party president to expand the ongoing anti-graft drive to the grassroots level, saying it will enhance her image, according to meeting insiders.
The AL chief urged her party leaders to remain united.
Earlier in her introductory speech, she called upon people to stay alert so that “looters and arsonists” cannot grab state power again.
“This is my appeal to the nation for keeping these elements away from state power,” she said at the meeting, reports BSS.
“Ziaur Rahman, Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman all are killers… they are a family of killers. All they know is killing, corruption and money embezzlement, nothing else.”
She further said her party does not believe in politics of vengeance.
Coming down heavily on the BNP chief, the PM said Khaleda is in jail not in a political case, but in a corruption case for misappropriating orphans’ money, and a caretaker government had filed it.
Hasina wondered why some people are shedding tears over the treatment of a corrupt person like Khaleda, who killed several hundred people by carrying out arson attacks.
The PM thanked people for not forgetting “miserable misrule” of the BNP-Jamaat alliance and for not voting it in the 2008 election.
“The BNP got only 29 seats in the polls… Many people seem to have forgotten this.”
Regarding the 2014 election boycott by the BNP, Hasina said the party’s aim was to impede the ongoing democratic process. “They never believe in the power of people and democracy.”
About the BNP’s debacle in the last general election, the PM said the party could foresee its defeat, and nomination “business” cost it a lot.
“They sold nomination papers to more than one candidate in a constituency… they took the election as a scope for business.”
Terming Khaleda the “godmother of terrorism” in the country, Hasina said terrorists got state patronisation during her tenures as PM.
“She [Khaleda] pampered Bangla Bhai… she was behind the killings of people through arson attacks…”
Referring to her government’s drive against corruption and terrorism, the PM said the drive must continue to reap the benefits of her government’s massive development work.
Describing various development activities of her government, Hasina said the AL always works for people and the country.
“We are taking the country forward…,” she added.