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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2733

Awami League may win the Bangladesh Polls

Our Diplomatic correspondent from Dhaka

Dhaka, December 28 : (Asiantribune,.com): Prime Minister hopeful Awami League president Sheikh Hasina urged all political parties to put an end to "politics of confrontation and hatred" and unitedly build Bangladesh as a prosperous, developed and safe country. In her televised address to the nation, Hasina said Awami League and their grand alliance do not want to see Bangladesh slipping back into its past confrontational environment. "Now it's extremely needed to work together so people's rights to voting and democracy are not harmed anymore."Let's work hands in hands for building Bangladesh with a clean new political culture to save democracy and ensure peace," she said reports UNB

Mostafa Kamal Majumder, Editor of the New Nation in his commentary opined : Awami League Chief Sheikh Hasina and leader of the Grand Alliance in her meeting had urged the people to vote against, what she termed, the BNP-Jamaat alliance of plunderers, war criminals and patrons of militancy. Sheikh Hasina pledged to present the people a prosperous, educated, industrially developed digital Bangladesh if her party and alliance were voted to power.

The AL in its election manifesto presented a 'vision 2021' for a developed Bangladesh and tuned the pledges to it. Begum Khaleda Zia's pledge to work by taking lessons from past mistakes is apparently directed not only at the people at large but also the champions of political and electoral reforms and the civil society who feel that the two major political parties have not adequately reformed their party organizations to meet their expectations.

Sheikh Hasina during the last leg of her election campaign in 1996, had appealed to the people to view mistakes committed during the Awami League rule after the liberation of Bangladesh with the spirit of mercy. That statement of her, was seen to have had dramatically changed the attitude of anti-AL voters towards the party. AL did win a majority in that election and came to power after 21 years.

Begum Khaleda Zia, Chairperson of the BNP and leader of the 4-party alliance on Saturday sought people's mercy for mistakes committed during the alliance rule that ended in 2006 while at the same time asserting success in reducing corruption that, she said, had peaked during the Awami League rule between 1996 and 2001.

Mistakes might have had been there, she told the Paltan Maidan meeting, and added 'we will build the country taking lessons from those'. Begum Khaleda Zia, Chairperson of the BNP and leader of the 4-party alliance yesterday sought people's mercy for mistakes committed during the alliance rule that ended in 2006 while at the same time asserting success in reducing corruption that, she said, had peaked during the Awami League rule between 1996 and 2001.

Mistakes might have had been there, she told the Paltan Maidan meeting, and added 'we will build the country taking lessons from those'. The BNP chief's narration of success on economic and law and order fronts and the claim of being the founder of the independent Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) attracted attention Mr majumder added.

According to a political analyst, This time Awami League led Grand Alliance will win and form the Government with massive landslide victory. Former President and Chairman of the Jatiya Party Lt. Gen. H M Ershad will be real factor in the fray and harbinger for massive victory Jatiya Party (JP) Chairman HM Ershad said the grand alliance headed by Awami League would secure a 'landslide victory' in the upcoming parliamentary election as people want a change in real sense."The Awami League and JP will work together in every constituency to ensure a huge victory of the grand alliance," the JP leader said.

There are apprehensions about the role the army is going to play after the new government takes charge. The Brussels-based International Crisis Group has warned that the country's powerful military may not be ready to bow out of politics just yet. There are apprehensions about the role the army is going to play after the new government takes charge. The Brussels-based International Crisis Group has warned that the country's powerful military may not be ready to bow out of politics just yet reports Hindusthan Times .

Anyhow, Voters in Bangladesh go to the polls tomorrow, Monday on December 29. The election is intended to restore democracy to the South Asian nation of 150 million people, who are predominately Muslim. The long-delayed election comes after a nearly two-year period of emergency rule by an army-backed caretaker government.

Voters in Bangladesh go to the polls on December 29. The election is intended to restore democracy to the South Asian nation of 150 million people, who are predominately Muslim. The long-delayed election comes after a nearly two-year period of emergency rule by an army-backed caretaker government.

Qatar-based television channel Al Jazeera published exclusive interviews of Awami League President Sheikh Hasina and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on Friday. Al Jazeera asked the two leaders the same questions, the Daily star published the interviews of both the leaders

Why should the people of Bangladesh elect you again?

Sheikh Hasina: "Last time I was in power I ensured their [Bangladeshis] food safety net. We ensured health, we controlled the law and order situation, we ensured peace. Definitely people will vote for us, they will elect us, we are confident about it."

How do you respond to the corruption charges against you?

Sheikh Hasina: "Already it has been proved that I haven't been involved in any corruption, neither myself, nor my children, nor my family.

"No, we didn't do any corruption. All those cases they filed, all are vilified, false, fabricated and already it is proven."

Why do you want to be prime minister again?

Sheikh Hasina: "Because of my people. I love my people, my father loved these people, he worked for these people, and the independence of this country.

"He established this country as a prosperous country, a free country. Still our people are suffering. They have no food, no education, no shelter, no health care, and still our people are suffering, so I cannot stop, out of fear that I might be killed.

"A better life...That was our dream for the nation. So, we have a vision, a vision for a prosperous country.

"I know I may be killed because my father, my mother, my brothers...my whole family was assassinated but still I am working.

"This is a commitment to the people. I want to ensure they have a better life, ensure food, security, health care, education...A better life, that was our dream for the nation. So we have a vision, a vision for a prosperous country--that's why I am willing to sacrifice for the sake of my people, my country."

Given below the excerpts of the interview with Khaleda Zia:

Why should the people of Bangladesh elect you again?

Khaleda Zia: "I have done a lot of work for the people of Bangladesh. I've developed the education system, there was a lot of local and foreign investment, the economy is a lot stronger.

"That's why people like me and the BNP.

"That's why people want to elect the BNP again. This is why people have voted for us before. We have brought democracy, we have developed the country and the country will continue to progress with us and that's why people like us."

How do you respond to the corruption charges against you?

Khaleda Zia: "From time to time, some local and international conspirators started plotting against our government and against us so we will not get good results in the election.

"They created anarchy in the streets, they paralysed the port, they uprooted the rail lines and they started killing people.

"I was under house arrest for six months. I was in jail for one year, but after nine months they submitted a charge sheet of just one case and it is so weak that they will never be able to punish me with that charge.

"They did it to keep me out of politics...They could not punish me, that's why I am standing in the election.

"Later, the government and its different agencies realised that my case is not true and it is a fabricated case. It was just done to put me in jail. Still now, I say I'm not guilty and my sons are not guilty. They did it to keep me out of politics...They could not punish me, that's why I am standing in the election."

Why do you want to be prime minister again?

Khaleda Zia: "My husband was very popular. He gave the Declaration of Independence and he fought for liberation. He was so popular that the people of the country brought him into power for the sake of the country and he became a very popular president.

"Within a very short time he did a lot of development work for the country. He contributed a lot to the economy to the country. He was assassinated by the conspirators because the people of the country loved him.

"After his assassination people thought that for the BNP to survive, in the absence of Ziaur Rahman, someone should take control of the party. That's why they wanted me to lead the party.

"I never thought of being a politician and under pressure from the people I had to enter politics. I didn't have any ambition to enter politics, but I have so much love from the people that I came into politics."

- Asian Tribune

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