Cast your vote wisely
Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed has urged the electorates to cast their votes wisely and appealed to the political parties to gracefully accept the results of today's crucial general election.
“Let us get united and participate in an appropriate democratic process. I hope tomorrow's parliament elections will be a classic example not only for our nation but also in the international domain,” he said in his address to the nation over radio and television last night.
In his apparently last national address as head of the caretaker government, Fakhruddin told the voters that the stature of their representatives and mode of development in their areas as well as overall development depend on their decision.
“You are now sitting in the chair of judge… Keep it in mind that we are going to take a decision for five years through our single day's verdict. We'll not make mistake in taking the decision, Inshallah,” he said.
Fakhruddin, who took over power at a critical juncture of the nation on January 12, 2007 under the state of emergency following the 1/11 changeover amid a political crisis, urged the parties to shun malice, violence and hostile mindset in the post-election period and be copartners in the future journey.
“We want to find unity, solidarity and unity in diversity. Today, it is critically important to have mutual respect, harmony and tolerance,” he said.
The chief adviser said people's verdict should turn to be the responsibility of the elected representatives and the people's support and trust should be the commitment to build a happy Bangladesh by fulfilling the basic needs.
He said he had not performed his responsibility in the last two years with emotion or affection rather followed the constitution and government rules. “We've tried to accomplish the assigned responsibility with only a few advisers and assistants,” he said, adding: “We'll not claim cent-percent success for all our sincerity and efforts.”
The chief adviser said his caretaker government embarked upon a journey for political reasons and that journey ends with restoration of politics. He hoped that a free, fair, neutral and transparent election will be held today and it will remain a shining example for the next generation.
“We hope all will accept the election results in good grace,” he said, adding that the next parliament will fulfill the aspirations of the people and steer the nation towards development and progress.
“Let violence and clash be gone, let discrimination and differences be removed and let conflict be resolved,” he said in his speech and urged the people to face the future challenges holding the dreams of independence in heart. “Make it sure that new generation does not need to look up the meaning of independence so we can present the nation with a nice dream of Bangladesh.”
In an emotion-charged voice, the head of the outgoing interim government said, “We had mistakes too. Maybe, sometimes I had been unintentionally the cause of someone's sorrow. For that I sincerely express my regret. I hope you will forgive our flaws and failures.”
The chief adviser regretted the sufferings of people due to the price hike of essentials, pushing up the inflation at home as high as 10 percent, with sharp rise in prices across the world for high-priced fuel oils and food items on the international market.
“This caused tremendous pains for us,” he said, adding that the inflation already started declining and recorded 6.2 percent in November this year. He hoped that the indicator would continue to decline in the coming months due to substantial increase in production of food in the country.
He said the government has given the highest priority to attaining food security and shared government's experience that agriculture production can be increased in the country through ensuring fertiliser and quality seeds as well as fuel oils and electricity as evident during the last Boro, Aus and Aman harvests.
Appreciating the farmers' success in the last Boro season, the chief adviser said the country had to face a food shortage of 1.8 million tons due to three consecutive disasters last year, “but it has been proved that we can overcome it though it took sometime”.
In the year 2008, country's cereal production marked its highest yearly record of 33 million tons while the food stock in government godowns stood at 1.3 million tons as of current month, he added.
“We'll have to utilise the experience. The farmers should be provided with all cooperation as agriculture will be our tool for development. There is no scope for thinking otherwise,” he said in his 26-minute speech, touching upon all aspects of the military-backed caretaker government's eventful two-year rule.
Fakhruddin said electricity is an integral part of agriculture, production and development despite the fact that the country is lagging behind the demand for power and described the short-and medium-term power sector plans undertaken by the caretaker government during the last two years.
He mentioned that agreements were signed for adding 1,000MW power to the national grid during the two-year period. Of the target, 400MW have already been supplied into the grid and the rest 600 MW could be supplied before the next summer.
Dwelling on his government's achievements on the economic front, the chief adviser said that GDP grew at 6.2 percent during the last fiscal year despite natural disasters, increase in import prices and adverse external environment while exports grew 16 percent to $ 14 billion and per-capita income rose to $ 600 from $ 520.
A significant achievement of this government was to double the manpower export, numbering around 800,000 in 2007 as compared to the year 2006. “If the process continues, country's growth will be faster as well as the monga-hit and poor sections of people will be benefited,” he told the nation.