Anti-Indian words don’t suit in BNP’s mouth: PM

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DHAKA : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today accused BNP of pursuing a “double-policy” regarding India saying anti-Indian words don’t suit in BNP’s mouth as they came to power in 2001 pledging to sell the country’s resources to the next door neighbor.

“It was (BNP leader) Khaleda Zia who gave a ‘muchleka’ (undertaking) of selling gas to India, and doing this, they came to power . . . So anti-Indian words don’t match in their mouth,” she said addressing the 2nd National Council of Jubo Mohila League at the Krishibid Institution auditorium here this afternoon.

Sheikh Hasina, also the Awami League president, said her government wanted to utilize the country’s resources for the people first and therefore “(Unlike BNP) I didn’t give any such undertaking”.

“We wanted that the country should have a reserve of gas for 50 years (of need) and only then it should be considered whether we would sell it or not,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said representatives of the neighbouring country’s intelligence agency used to sit at Hawa Bhaban, “the alternate power house of the then BNP government”, before the 2001 elections though the party always talks against India.

“Besides, the persons of a powerful nation also used to stay at Hawa Bhaban to realize undertakings of selling gas from the BNP,” she added.

The premier’s comments came as BNP leaders recently expressed their negative speculated about possible deals to be signed with India during the premier’s planned New Delhi tour.

The prime minister said the 2001 elections were staged to completely defeat the Awami League and taking gas from Bangladesh. “But I said at that time they won’t get gas and the Almighty Allah won’t give gas to them, selling of gas far long words. That happened and they didn’t find gas”.

Earlier, Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the council of the ruling party’s women youth front releasing pigeons and baloons.

Jubo Mohila League President Nazma Aktar chaired the council and AL’s Women Affairs Secretary Fazilatunnesa Indira and Senior President of Jubo Mohila League Zakia Parveen Moni spoke at the function, when AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader was present on the podium.

Jubo Mohila League General Secretary Professor Apu Ukil placed the general secretary’s report, while Organizing Secretary Ishrat Jahan placed obituary reference.

A minute’s silence was also observed as a mark of profound respect to the memory of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and other martyrs of the August 15 carnage as well as other leaders and workers of Awami League and Jubo Mohila League who embraced martyrdom in different movements of the country.

The prime minister also said Khlaeda Zia “forgot” to raise the Ganges water issue before the Indian government when she visited the neigbouring country as the prime minister after the 1991 elections.

“She (Khaleda Zia) earlier talked against India and staged a long march demanding (equitable share) of the Ganges water, but when she visited India she forgot the issue,” the premier said.

She added: “When reporters asked her (about the Ganges water issue) on her return from India, the then prime minister Khaleda Zia had said oh! I forgot the matter . . . it has proved that which party is doing “dalali”.

It was the Awami League, the premier said, which realized the just share of the Ganges water from India on assuming power after long 21 years and again it was the party which resolved the decades-long land boundary problem with India as no governments other than the Awami League ever took steps for solving the issue.

“Zia, Ershad and Khaleda Zia didn’t take any measure to redraw the boundary and demarcate it and their ‘dalali’ was in such a height that they did not have any courage to raise the issue,” she said.

The prime minister said in an identical manner her government resolved the maritime boundary dispute with India and Myanmar as well while “no other governments except Awami League did take any initiative for solving the problem through discussion or lodging case”.

The premier posed a question that why Zia, Ershad and Khaleda Zia did not raise the issue “if they were so patriotic?”

The premier also recalled that BNP rather stood on the way of resolving problems like that of the signing of the landmark Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Agreement that drew an end to a more than two decades of insurgency in the southeastern rugged hills.

“Those who could not bring anything from India now become very much anti-Indian . . . they played such games many times . . . they have no patriotism and power is a thing of enjoyment to them,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the BNP is now talking about holding of free, fair and impartial election, but the party has no history about staging any polls in such a manner.

She said Ziaur Rahman grabbed power and declared himself as the president by violating constitution while BNP was founded by the illegal power usurpers.

“If we see their election history including ‘yes-no’ votes, presidential election in 1978, parliamentary election in 1979, again the 1981 presidential polls, Magura and Mirpur by-polls and 15th February JS elections in 1996, there is no free, fair and credible election in BNP’s history,” she said.

The premier said vote rigging, ballot paper stuffing and snatching the polls results through terrorism are their election history.

Highlighting her government’s constant endeavours for developing the country, the premier said the people get something when her party comes to power.

“But when the BNP assumes power the people don’t get anything other than repression, torture, plundering, money laundering and corruption,” she said.

The prime minister said the BNP-Jamaat government ruined the spirit of the liberation war by handing over the national flags to war criminals.”They also gave shelter to unjust and committed misdeeds through corruption, laundering money and embezzling orphans money,” she said, urging all to remain always alert about them.

Regarding the Padma Bridge, Sheikh Hasina said attempts were made to label her and her families as corrupt for it.

“Even organization like the World Bank brought allegations but they could not prove those … in the Canadian court, the allegations were proved false and fabricated,” she said.

Highlighting her government’s success in socioeconomic development, particularly women empowerment, the Awami League president asked the Jubo Mohila League leaders and workers to project the government’s success massively before the countrymen.

The prime minister said Bangladesh earned independence under the leadership of Bangabandhu who struggled for his entire life for building a happy and prosperous Sonar Bangla.

“We are now working relentlessly to materialise the dream of Bangabandhu … we are working for the people and the country,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina also asked the Jubo Mohila League leaders and workers to strengthen their organization and take forward the country in the spirit of the war of liberation.

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