“People have every right to vote only during our tenure”

PM in an interview with Politico
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Star file photo

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said people have every right to cast their vote only during the regime of Awami League government.

PM Hasina said this in a recent interview with NatSec Daily in Virginia, according a report of Politico published on October 3, 2022.

In the interview, Hasina said after the assassination of her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, mother, and more than a dozen other family members, there were moments in the years afterward that, lost in the pain, she would forget to feed her children.

Since then, her purpose was trying to fulfil her father's dream of a free, democratic Bangladesh. "As long as I survive, I must work for the people," she told NatSec Daily.

Does Hasina still believe in democracy? when asked, she said "Of course!".

Hasina cited her long struggle against military rule, pointing out that she's done prison time in service of a more democratic Bangladesh, the report added.

When NatSec Daily pointed out that even cartoonists and writers are now being imprisoned in Bangladesh, Hasina did not respond directly. Instead, she emphasized how well her country has done under her leadership, politico said.

Bangladesh, according to the World Bank, moved into the lower-middle income category in 2015, despite difficulties from the Covid-19 outbreak and having to take in hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees since 2017, she mentioned.

Hasina dismissed the idea that, like so many leaders in human history, she will find it difficult to go of power having had it for so long. She did, however, say she hasn't fulfilled all her goals. For one thing, she'd like to see her country's poverty rate drop further. "I care for power only if I can serve my people," she said.

Asked whether she can assure the world that a future Bangladeshi election –– one is expected in 2023 –– will be free and fair, and that she will step down if she loses? Of course, Hasina insisted. "If they don't want me," she said, "I don't want to remain in power."