Prime Minister and Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said there is no comparison between her party and the BNP.
"BNP doesn't want people's welfare. They burnt people alive and played ducks and drakes with their fate. But, AL is a party of this soil and its people and it works for countrymen. So, no comparison can be drawn between AL and BNP," she said.
The premier was addressing a grand rally after inaugurating 43 development schemes and laying foundation stones of five others involving Taka 329 crore by unveiling a plaque at the Talimpur Telihati High School ground in Sadullapur Union of Kotalipara upazila, Gopalganj.
She said AL was born from the people for achieving their rights and through struggle while BNP was formed illegally by the military dictator Zia who grabbed state power unlawfully after breaching country's constitution.
Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman were made BNP's leaders despite both of them are convicted, she said, adding: "BNP's organogram even doesn't allow making leader of any convicted person. But, both Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman are convicted (in criminal and corruption cases)."
The premier posed a question that whether BNP doesn't get any person, who is not convicted, to make its leader, adding Tarique Rahman was convicted in August 21, 2004 grenade attack, 10-truck arms haul and graft cases.
"BNP itself doesn't maintain its party's constitution, law and rules. It is not proper to compare AL with BNP. Some people are comparing AL with BNP, saying, both are two big political parties. They said two big parties, but, they are wrong," she added.
Referring to the 2008 election, in which, the BNP led 20-party alliance got only 30 seats out of 300 while the AL led grand alliance secured the rest of the seats, she said, "So, how are the two parties the same."
The premier said the country had become a haven of militancy, terrorism and corruption during BNP government's tenure as grenade attacks took place and 500 bombs were exploded across the country in a day and Bangladesh became five times champion in corruption.
"They gave nothing to the people rather looted the public money and laundered those abroad. But, whenever the Awami League comes to power, the people of the country get something and their fate is changed," she said.
AL General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader and its Presidium Member Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, among others, spoke at the rally organised by the Kotalipara Upazila Awami League.
Kotalipara Upazila AL President Bhabendra Nath Biswas presided over the rally that turned into a human sea. Upazila AL General Secretary Sheikh Aynal Hossain moderated it while senior and local AL leaders were present on the stage.
Earlier, on her arrival at the rally venue 12:40pm, the mammoth gathering warmly welcomed the premier by chanting slogans as she, in reply, waved her hands to the crowd.
A festive mood prevails across the district centering on the arrival of the prime minister to Kotalipara.
Sheikh Hasina, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) of the Gopalganj-3 (Tungipara-Kotalipara) constituency, addressed the public gathering here four years after she spoke at an election rally on December 12, 2018.
The previous polls rally was held at the Sheikh Lutfar Rahman Adarsh Government College ground in Kotalipara Upazila.
The 43 development projects include two rural piped water supply schemes - one at Dumuria union in Tungipara upazila and another at Ramshil union in Kotalipara upazila, 24 meter RCC girder bridge on Gopalpur UP Office-Kajulia UP via Boraihati Polshair Bazar Road and 99 meter girder bridge on Kushli GC-Dharabashail GC via Mitradanga, Sonakhali Road in Tungipara upazila, four-storey Shuagram Bohumukhi High School at Kotalipara, three-storey girls hostel (100 beds) at Sheikh Hasina Adarsha Degree College at Kotalipara, four-storey academic building of Kotalipara SN Institution, Kotalipara Poura Kitchen Market and Sheikh Russel Library at Bhangarhat Talimpur Telihati High School at Kotalipara upazila built by Kotalipara Upazila Parishad, 'Mukta Manch' in the ancestral home of poet Sukanta Bhattacharya at Kotalipara, flood shelter center at Uttar Kotalipara Rammohon High School at Kotalipara, one-storey commercial building having 10-storey foundation at Boro Bazar in Gopalganj Sadar.
The prime minister laid foundation stones of Gopalganj Zilla Tathya Complex Bhaban and Kotalipara Model Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre under Public Works Department, Radhaganj Union Bhangarhat Bazar Development and Mural Construction on 1971 Liberation War at Kotalipara Upazila under Local Government Engineering Department and building Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's mural at 11 union parishads under Kotalipara Upazila Parishad.
After opening the development schemes, Sheikh Hasina said, "I have some special gifts for you.''
The prime minister thanked the people of her constituency (Tungipara-Kotaliara) for always standing beside her despite she can't go to her constituency regularly like other lawmakers as she has to oversee 300 parliamentary seats and their overall socioeconomic development.
"I express my gratitude to you (Tungipara-Kotalipara people) as you always feel me from your hearts. I get the love and affection of my father, mother and brothers from you after losing them," she said.
Briefly describing her government measures for the development of Gopalganj, she said it took 24 hours to reach Kotalipara on waterways from Dhaka when it now takes a few hours to reach here.
The prime minister said her government has built the Padma Bridge with its own finance after overcoming many challenges that include corruption allegations, adding that they have come to power not to make their own fortune through corruption rather to make the fate of the countrymen.
Sheikh Hasina said she is out to give the countrymen a beautiful and improved life by transforming the country into a developed, prosperous and Smart Bangladesh free from hunger and poverty as envisioned by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Spelling out various measures by her government for overall development of the country, she said they have increased education rate by establishing schools and colleges in every upazila alongside computer and digital labs.
She said her government reached healthcare services to people's doorsteps by setting up community clinics with giving various allowances to the people under the social safety net programmes and providing houses to every landless and homeless people.
The premier said they are out to maintain law and order to ensure safety and security for the countrymen alongside carrying out the country's socio-economic advancement.
She reiterated her government's stance to continue the drives against militancy, terrorism, drug and corruption from the rally in Kotalipara where the militants planted two powerful bombs weighing 76kg and 40kg, in July 2000, to kill Sheikh Hasina.
"Our drives against militancy, terrorism, drugs and corruption will continue. Everyone has to remain cautious to this end. You all have to remain vigilant as your children can not be engaged in militancy and drugs," she said.
The prime minister once again asked the countrymen to bring every inch of fallow land under cultivation to grow food as the ongoing global economic recession and food crisis can not hit Bangladesh.
She later exchanged views with the local Awami League leaders and asked them to be prepared for the next general election scheduled to be held in December this year or January next year.
Sheikh Hasina also asked her party leaders and activists to present the current development spree by her government across the country to the people.
The Prime Minister earlier visited the Bangabandhu Academy for Poverty Alleviation and Rural Development (BAPARD) at Kotalipara in Gopalganj district.
The academy had started journey in 1997 as per the pledge of Sheikh Hasina aimed at reducing the country's poverty. It was named after Bangabandhu for his glorious contribution to alleviate poverty.
At the end, the premier paid rich tributes and offered prayers at the mausoleum of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Tungipara in Gopalganj district this afternoon.