AL never flees
"To those who are saying that the Awami League will not get the chance of fleeing, I want to make it clear that the Awami League never flees, but their [BNP] leaders do."
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said Awami League leaders and activists never flee the country. Rather, they stay with the people for their welfare.
Addressing a massive rally at Rajshahi city's Madrasa Maidan yesterday, the premier called upon the people to elect her party again in the next general election to build a developed, prosperous and smart Bangladesh by 2041.
"To those who are saying that the Awami League will not get the chance of fleeing, I want to make it clear that the Awami League never flees, but their [BNP] leaders do," she said.
Hasina, also the AL president, said she faced obstacles while returning home from abroad during the rules of Ziaur Rahman in 1981 and the caretaker government in 2007. But she still managed to come back.
Before taking the stage at the venue, the PM inaugurated 26 projects, including seven of the Rajshahi City Corporation, worth over Tk 1,333 crore. She also laid the foundation stones of six others involving over Tk 375 crore.
This was the PM's first public rally in the northwestern city after five years.
The venue was filled to the brim with AL leaders, activists and supporters around 11:00am, about four hours before Hasina reached there.
As people waited for the PM to join the programme, renowned Baul artist Shafi Mondol and his troupe performed folk songs. Local artists also performed the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra songs.
Twelve large screens broadcasting the event live in different areas in the city attracted hundreds of AL leaders and activists, disrupting traffic movement at some places.
At the Ghoshpara intersection near Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, some hospital-goers and ambulances were seen stuck in traffic.
Other than several hundred buses and trucks, the participants of the rally were brought to the city in some 40 boats through the Padma river.
The AL also hired at least eight trains to take activists from Joypurhat, Sirajganj, Bogura, Natore, Pabna and Chapainawabganj to Rajshahi city.
The trains were crammed and many were seen travelling on the roofs.
Due to the operations of these trains, several regular trains ran behind schedule, said witnesses.
On December 3 last year, the BNP held its Rajshahi divisional rally at the same venue. At that time, the opposition party leaders and activists from different districts faced difficulties in reaching the city amid a transport strike.
The BNP men stayed overnight under the open sky for two days ahead of the rally and arranged food for themselves.
Speaking to this newspaper yesterday, many AL men, especially youths, said they came to see Hasina and hear her development plans.
'NO YOUTH WILL REMAIN JOBLESS'
Addressing the rally, Hasina also said no youth would remain unemployed and no one would be left landless in the county.
"Every youth will get a job… You promise me that you will vote for 'boat'."
The audience in response raised hands assuring the prime minister.
AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader, presidium members Jahangir Kabir Nanak and AHM Khairuzzaman Liton, also Rajshahi city mayor, Joint General Secretary Hasan Mahmud, Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam, State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak, and AL Organising Secretary SM Kamal also spoke at the rally.
The meeting was jointly organised by Rajshahi city and district units of the ruling party, with city unit President Mohammad Ali Kamal in the chair.
In the morning, Hasina addressed the passing out parade of assistant superintendents of police of the 38th BCS batch at Bangladesh Police Academy in Sardah, reports BSS.
She asked the officials to take police services to people's doorsteps.
The PM also advised the new officers to discharge their duties and responsibilities with the highest level of professionalism to build Sonar Bangladesh as envisioned by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.