It is admitted by all, that had there been no Bangabandhu there would have been no Bangladesh. He fought for 23 years to make us free. He declared his six-point programme that consolidated the entire nation like a rock and won the 1970 election with an overwhelming majority paving the way for the war of independence. He declared the non-cooperation movement and conclusively proved that only he had the political right to rule Bangladesh. Pakistan did not hand over power to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib, the leader of the majority party, Awami League. Bangabandhu declared independence in the early hours of March 26, 1971 and asked her people to fight against the Pakistani occupation Army. Getting instruction, the Bengalis engaged in fighting with the Pak army and the war continued for nine months. The Pakistan occupation Army surrendered and Bangladesh was liberated on 16 December, 1971.
Similarly, Sheikh Hasina saved Bangladesh by regaining it from the enemies of independence, who were in power after the killing of Bangabandhu on 15 August, 1975. The fundamentalists, the reactionary forces of reaction and the military dictators staggeringly ruled the country for 21 years from 1975 to 1996, relatively the worst in history and brought back the country to the opposite of independence. Sheikh Hasina, a popular leader, was committed to the people to restore people's right to food and franchise, had to fight against Zia, Khaleda and Ershad, the than dictators. These dictatorial regimes during those 21 years brought the country on the verge of collapse. Sheikh Hasina ceaselessly fought against the military dictators, pseudo-democratic and reactionary forces, the fundamentalists and the terrorists to bring Bangladesh to its present position. She saved the country from the dictators and brought it on the right track and restored all the values earned through the war of liberation. She revived the four guiding principles of the state - Democracy, Nationalism, Secularism and Socialism. She restored‘ Joy Bangla’ the only slogan of our independence. She brought the country back from religious fundamentalists and saved it from the religious bigots. She is the leader who established people's right to votes. Consequently, it is during her period the Election Commission was formed. The national election was held and parliamentary democracy was established. She won the general election and consequently proving that she is the most popular leader of Bangladesh.
What did people witness during the 21 years rule from 1975 to 1996? Not a single mega project had been completed. The electricity generation was only 3000 MW, but Sheikh Hasina has raised power generation capacity to 25,000 MW. The country’s almost 100 per cent area is expected to be brought under electricity coverage by the end of this year. There is no load shedding in the country. Even the opposition leader Begum Zia who is living in a posh house in Gulshan area has been enjoying electricity with AC without load shedding. The inflation was two digits and it's now below 5.2 per cent. Bangladesh is now is in the second position in garment exports, 4th in fish production, and 5thin vegetable production. It has launched its own ‘Bangabandhu’ satellite in space. Bangladesh is far advanced in health, education, property alleviation and women empowerment.
Sheikh Hasina has raised voice in the international forums for realising climate fund as committed by the developed countries to mitigate the adverse impact of climate change on the lower repairing countries like Bangladesh. Her government gave home to the people who were rendered homeless mostly due to river erosion and the adverse impact of climate change.
She has been managing well the situation, created by the global corona pandemic. Her government provided food and cash to the distressed and jobless people. Moreover, her government brought the corona situation under control.
It is because of Sheikh Hasina we are at the height of glory. It is due to her that we are not only self-sufficient in food but even capable of export. The per capita income is now over $2,227, GDP was 8.13 before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Even during this situation, the country witnessed positive growth of 6.8. The foreign exchange reserves increased to $48 billion. Bangladesh is not a bottomless basket anymore. The size of the country’s annual budget is over Tk. 6 lakh crore.
Bangladesh is a country that distributes 35 crore books among primary school students on the first day of January each year. The rate of literacy has increased to 74 per cent. The improvement of the health sector is tremendous. The life expectancy is now 72 years. The child and maternal mortality rate has reduced significantly.
The mega projects like Padma bridge, Karnaphuli Tunnel, Metrorail and Elevated Expressway will be open for traffic movement next year. The four and eight-lane roads are a reality in Bangladesh. The Nuclear Power Plant is also about to complete. Several specialised economic zones of the approved 97 attracting huge investment. The kind of development programmes is being implemented during the last 12 years regime of Sheikh Hasina which is Zia, Ershad and Khaleda could not do in their 21 years rule since the killing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975.
The country's current global ranking of the Gross Domestic Product is 42nd and it is set to become 26th largest economy in the world by 2030 as per the projection. The global survey conducted by HSBC under the title: “The world in 2030” reveals that the position of Bangladesh in the global economy is 26th from the present 42nd. The report contains long-term protection for the current 75 economies of the world. The UN has recommended Bangladesh graduating from the LDC category. In fact, Bangladesh will be a rich country within the next two decades if Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina can work for the people. By all canons of development, Bangladesh is now a role model of development.
Sheikh Hasina has taken the country to a new height. She is the 3rd honest leader of the globe. She has been conferred 39 awards by the international community for her outstanding contribution to different fields. Most recently she has been awarded as the ‘Crown Jewel’ of the earth by the UN bringing another pride for the nation, for us all. Long live Sheikh Hasina.
Joy Bangla! Joy Bangabandhu!!
Joy Sheikh Hasina!
- The writer is the former political advisor to the Prime Minister, Member of Parliament, President of Bangabandhu Parishad and columnist