Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday vowed to launch a massive anti-corruption campaign as she delivered her first nationwide address, assuming office for the third consecutive term, also seeking a greater national unity on core issues.
‘Now we need national unity. We have to go proceed together sinking all differences. The unity will be based on the spirit of the War of Liberation, secularism, democratic values, equality, justice, development and progress,’ she said in her 25-minute televised address.
Sheikh Hasina said being the winning party Awami League constituted the government but ‘every citizen irrespective of their views and party affiliations is equal to the government’.
‘We will work for every citizen, taking initiative to establish accountability and good governance in public service sector and uphold the rule of law at all levels of the national life,’ she said.
The premier warned of launching a stringent anti-graft drive in her new term in office acknowledging the peoples sentiment against the persisting corrupt practices in different sectors.
‘I know there is unhappiness about corruption at all level of society . . . the government will go tough in execution the law to uproot corruption,’ she said.
The premier said information technology facilities would be used to detect sector-wise corruption but insisted that participation of mass people in the anti-graft drive was very crucial to stamp out corruption.
She said also urged media to extend support the government in spearheading the anti-graft campaign.
Sheikh Hasina said the drive against drug and extremism would continue simultaneously to build a peaceful society, where there would have no envy and hatred among the people of any faith.
The premier urged the opposition members elected to Jatiya Sangsad in the December 30 elections to join the parliament session assuring them of giving proper value to all their proposals and criticism whatever their strength in the house.
‘The number of opposition members is very low in the 11th parliament. But we will not consider them on the basis of their strength rather value them on the basis of the rationality of their argument,’ she said.
Sheikh Hasina added, ‘Jatiya Sangsad will be the focal point of all development.’
She said a section of Bangladeshi youths became involved with terrorism and extremism as they were misguided at the instigation of some local and alien groups and sounded a strong note of warning against these elements.
‘There is no room for terrorism in Islam as the religion always preached for peace,’ Sheikh Hasina said.
The premier said her government initiated a campaign for education sector reforms particularly for modernisation of madrassah education for expansion of religious education.
‘Madrassah education is being modernised to make it productive. Dawra-e-Hadith of Qoumi Madrassah has been recognised equivalent to ‘master degree’ while 560 mosques cum Islamic Cultural Centres are being established across the country,’ she said.
The prime minister made a fervent call to the youth folks to be imbued with the ideals of Language Movement, mass upsurge of 1969, War of Liberation also recalling the sacrifices of Asad-Matiur and Noor Hossain to materialise the dream of independence.
‘Youths are our future leaders. I have full confidence in the creativeness, courage and strength of the youths. They can nourish the spirit of the Golden Bangladesh,’ she said.
Sheikh Hasina said responding to Bangabandhu’s call people of Bangladesh had given vote for Awami League in 1970 polls.
In 2018, they gave Awami League another chance to serve them by casting their vote for Awami League, she said.
The prime minister said she has nothing to gain personally from politics. She was doing politics with the prime objective of materialising the dream of Bangabandhu and welfare of the people. She had devoted her present for the future of posterity, she said.
‘My prime objective is to build a nation where the next generation will get a better life . . . we are following the footprint of Bangabandhu who has set an example of sacrifice in politics,’ the premier said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government would use the power, merit and creativity of youths for nation building activities so that they could take forward the country towards development and prosperity.
About the formation of the new cabinet comprising freshers and elders the prime minister said, ‘We are determined to reach our goal though combined efforts of new and old leaders and will try heart and soul to reciprocate to the gesture of voters.’
Sheikh Hasina said the victory of Awami League on December 30 election was very much anticipated as several.
Many local and foreign surveys including the London based Economic Intelligence Unit and Research and Development Centre ahead of the polls had predicted it.
She attributed her party’s victory to country’s overall socioeconomic development over the last ten years.
Sheikh Hasina said expansion of electricity coverage, allowances for poor, elderly people and widows, education facilities of the children of poor families, hike of the wages of day labourers, salary of civil servants, agricultural incentives and implementation of many mega projects including Padma Bridge and Dhaka Metro Rail were some of the key areas that contributed to the election victory.
Sheikh Hasina identified BNP’s election strategy for their colossal defeat in the polls.
‘BNP nominated more than one candidate in most of the constituencies to make brisk business with the nomination. Finally, they fielded weak candidate in most of the areas,’ she said.
Sheikh Hasina said people were not certain who would be BNP’s prime minister if the party was voted to power.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Country