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After making public her mobile phone numbers and e-mail address in parliament, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has received a huge response from a cross-section of people over the last two days.
Talking directly to the head of the government, some callers were nervous, while others were amazed.
Some talked about problems in their localities and some about issues like Padma bridge, said Mahbubul Hoque Shakil, prime minister’s special assistant (media).
“I cannot believe my ears,” one caller said as Hasina answered the phone.
Among the callers was a schoolgirl from Kurigram. A class-seven student, she said: “Dear prime minister, I’m a girl from a poor family. I am grateful to you for giving us the textbooks in time.”
One man wanted to know if it was indeed the prime minister he was talking to. As Hasina said, “Yes”, he hung up.
The prime minister called him back and wanted to know his identity and purpose of his call. The man said he had put down the phone, as he could not believe he was talking to the head of the government, the premier’s special assistant told The Daily Star.
During the question-answer session in parliament on Wednesday, Hasina gave her email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and phone numbers (01711-520000 and 01819-260371) so that people could contact her about those who try to seek undue advantage using her and her family members’ names.
“My family includes me, my younger sister and our five children. Apart from them, I have no one else in my family,” Hasina said in the House.
From 5:00pm to 11:00pm on Thursday and after Juma prayers yesterday, she talked to a good number of people on the phone, said Shakil.
Many lauded her stance on the Padma bridge issue; some suggested the government raise funds from the public for financing the bridge project.
“Honourable Prime Minister, the construction of the bridge must start no matter what. You should inaugurate and end its construction,” said a caller from a southern district.
Besides phone calls, the premier received several e-mails on different issues including allegations of corruption in various sectors, sources said.
Some government officials feel jittery about the prime minister’s initiative, as they fear anyone can now communicate with her directly about corruption or other misdeeds, added the sources.