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Elected govt will take over power from elected govt: PM

Published : 30 Sep 2023 10:51 PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that an elected government will take over power from the elected government and now the right to vote is in the hands of the people.

"The right to vote is now in the hands of the people. The government will be formed by the people who would vote for them," she said.

She added: "So, now there is no way to go back. Now, our constitution also secures the people's voting right. An elected government will come (to power) in place of the elected government."

Sheikh Hasina, also the President of ruling Awami League (AL), made this remarks in an interview with the Bangla service of Voice of America (VoA) aired on Saturday, replying to a query regarding the demand of BNP for elections under a caretaker government (CG).

The interviewer also supplemented her question to the premier, saying: "You say that there is no scope for this (CG) in the constitution, but you have the required majority in the parliament to amend the constitution. Will you take any initiative to bring back the CG by changing the constitution or enter into any discussion with the opposition party?"

 Sheikh Hasina said: "Once they (BNP) used to oppose it (CG), now they are demanding it, but what they will do in the future has no certainty. Moreover, this (CG) system has been ruined by BNP. They raised the age of High Court judges, prepared voter list with 1.23 crore fake voters, and did various kinds of misdeeds to install a government as per their wish. None of it worked, because the people did not accept it."

The Prime Minister said, "When BNP went for election on February 15, we waged movement for Caretaker Government (CG) at that time. When the vote was stolen, then the public wanted it (CG). Then the BNP leader (Begum Khaleda Zia) said that no one is neutral except the mad and children. It was their statement. They were against it."

The second thing was that the election was held in 2008 under the CG, because BNP, during 2001 to 2006 tenure, created militancy, corruption, nepotism, money laundering and emergency was declared in Bangladesh due to their various misdeeds, she said.

She added that then the CG came, but they didn't give election for two years "rather, they harassed us by filing false cases against us."

She continued that when the election was held in 2008, it was also held under a CG. "But how many seats did BNP get in that election?"

She went on saying that BNP-led 20-party alliance, including Jamaat, got only 29 seats among 300, and then they got another seat in the re-election that took their tally to 30. "So, their position is in that place. They witnessed this situation in the election under that CG."

Sheikh Hasina said, "For this they boycotted the 2014 election and committed arson terrorism to thwart it."

She said that then they burnt people with fire and killed them, mentioning that they burnt more than 3,000 people, cut down thousands of trees, cut the road, burnt down over 500 polling stations and schools, killed judges in the court through bombing along with lawyers and boycotted the elections carrying out havoc.

Then the 2018 election came and they participated in it, she said, adding, there were about 750 nominations in 300 seats.

"Because, one nomination comes from London, while another from their Gulshan office and other came from Purana Paltan office," said the premier.

"In this way, when two or three people were nominated for each seat, they made a mess and stepped aside from the election," she said, adding, "They failed in that election too. Out of the few who contested the election, they won a few (seats)."

 Highlighting that BNP has never held a free-fair election, the AL President said, "They don't want a fair election."

She wanted to know: "Why are they demanding the CG suddenly ? The question is - who is their leader? Whom will people vote for? People want to see a leader who, if voted, will run this country in the future. Has BNP been able to bring forward someone with whom they will take part in elections?"

Sheikh Hasina said that they have 20-party alliance, including BNP-Jamaat, so far but where is their leadership who will lead the country.

 "The third thing is election. It is the people's right to vote," she added.

 When the emergency was declared in 2007, it was followed by a High Court ruling that no one or no unelected government could come in Bangladesh and one elected government should be replaced by another elected government, she said.

 She mentioned that Ziaur Rahman's seizure of power after August 15, 1975 in violation of the constitution was declared illegal and then the regime of General Ershad through martial law was also declared invalid.

She added that it was said in that judgment - "no one who is not elected can come in the government".

The Prime Minister said that the verdict was announced by the Supreme Court of the country. "In view of that, this verdict was implemented by amending the constitution," she said, adding, "Now, how can we return from that highest court verdict or how can we amend the constitution again?"

"And why should we?" she said, referring to their bitter experiences. "Before this, the events that happened in Bangladesh are either Martial Law - Military Dictatorship; electoral farce under them, followed by electoral farce again under the CG," she added.

She said: "This kind of incident happens every now and then in Bangladesh."

After the 2008 election, she said, the government was formed in 2009 and today there is a stable situation till 2023.

Various terrorist activities, conflicts, arson terrorism, many things have been done to destabilize it, she said.

"By confronting them all, when Bangladesh has progressed on the path of socio-economic development and Bangladesh has got the status of a developing country today, it is absolutely essential to implement it. We need an elected government there. In the middle, where will I bring the unelected government?" she added.