Vol. 4 Num 213 Wed. December 31, 2003  
Front Page

AL turns to hartal to stunt uplift
PM tells Jessore rally

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia yesterday blasted Awami League (AL) for opting for destructive ways of hartals and other violent programmes with an intention to ruin the country and its economy.

Addressing a mammoth gathering at Jessore Eidgah Maidan, she alleged the AL called hartal on January 3, at the very start of the New Year, "solely to obstruct peace, stability and the development spree".

Khaleda said the AL is harmful for the country as its members loot wealth to make their own fortune when in power and resort to destruction when in opposition.

Tens of thousands of people from far and wide converged at the meeting, presided over by district BNP President Chowdhury Islam Nayan.

Referring to the two terms of the AL rules, the PM told the rally the money that it borrowed then from foreign countries and donor agencies were never utilised for the country or the people. "They looted the money and placed the burden of loans on the people. We are now repaying the loan borrowed by the AL," she alleged.

The prime minister claimed her alliance government has successfully rescued and stabilised the economy through right measures and tireless efforts. "Bangladesh achieved a tremendous development in the last two years and would continue to do so in the next three years. People have already started getting the benefits of our development programmes," she observed.

But, the opposition does not want to allow the government to continue rendering these services to the nation in peace, she alleged, adding, "They obstructed us in the past and now again are trying to do so."

Khaleda also blamed the AL for engaging in anti-Bangladesh campaign abroad. They are trying to portray Bangladesh as a country of communalism and extremism, she stated. But, Bangladesh has always been a country of communal harmony; people of this country are highly moderate and respect all religions, she said.

"In the eyes of Bangladesh and the BNP, believers of all faiths are equal, all are Bangladeshis," she maintained, adding, "It is the Awami League which frequently use the term 'minority'. People of other religions, particularly the Hindus, were repressed only when the Awami League was in power. They looted the properties of Hindus then."

In her 35-minute speech, Khaleda listed the various development initiatives of her government, highlighting the economic, educational and infrastructure developments and self-employment programmes. She mentioned that her government allocated Tk 300 crore as agricultural subsidy and announced more subsidies for the farmers for purchasing seeds, fertiliser and electricity to further boost the country's agricultural production.

Turning to Jessore, she said most of the development programmes in this southwestern district were taken up during the BNP regime, with the direct initiatives of the current information minister, Tariqul Islam.

The previous government of AL harassed Tariqul through filing various 'false' cases, including the one related to the Udichi bomb blast, to kill his political career, Khaleda alleged.

Responding to various demands put forward by Tariqul, the prime minister said a science and technology university would be set up in Jessore soon. Besides, all of its upazilas would be brought under digital telephone network. She also promised to construct new roads and bridges and dredge the river Kapatakkha.

She called upon the people to rally under the banner of the BNP for peace, progress, development and production and build strong resistance against the 'negative politics' of the AL. The PM also expressed determination to root out crime and corruption from the country.