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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Democracy Bangladesh

Democracy, unity vital to fight poverty, says PM

Khaleda would have come, had it been a rally for loot, Hasina tells anti-poverty rally

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday stressed the need for vibrant democracy and national unity to ensure alleviation of poverty hoping that no vested quarter would hatch conspiracy to impede democratic process in the country.
"Without democracy and national unity, it will not possible to eliminate poverty. I hope no vested quarter would hatch conspiracy in order to impede democracy," the prime minister said while addressing a united anti-poverty rally at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city.
She said her government was always alert to people rights.
"We will have to ensure people's rights as they voted us to power. We are determined to do so," Hasina added.
The prime minister further said eradicating poverty, establishing rule of law, good governance, and ensuring accountability and transparency are a must.
"We are transparent about our success and failure," she added.
Hasina said that her government wanted to make the parliament effective and keeping this in mind they tried to bring the opposition BNP in the parliament in different ways.
"But they didn't respond to our call," she added in a frustrated tone.
Urging the opposition to attend the parliament and speak for the people she said, "I shall be very glad if leader of the opposition in parliament attend the rally to raise her voice against the poverty and say how Bangladesh can be made a poverty-free country".
Referring to the leader of the opposition Khaleda Zia's refusal to turn out in the programme, Prime minister said that since she (Khaleda Zia) did not bother for the betterment of the poor, she didn't attend the rally.
"The opposition leader didn't like to attend the anti-poverty rally but if it was a programme for looting people's asset, she might have turned up to make a fortune," the prime minister said.
She said that while her party was in opposition in the parliament, they had been given only five to six seats.
"We were 62 MPs in 2001 and the treasury bench had given us only five to six seats but we didn't raise any question about the issue," she added.
The prime minister further said the opposition was given double seats in the front row in the parliament, although BNP has only 27 MPs.
"We also had offered BNP the post of deputy speaker but the party didn't submit any application to the parliament for the post," Hasina added.
She said, "We have given seven posts of chairman of the parliamentary standing committee to the BNP. These seven chairmen are doing their work but refraining from attending the parliament session."
But they (opposition lawmakers) are visiting different foreign countries as parliamentary delegation members, she mentioned.
Hasina said when she was the leader of the opposition in the parliament her microphone had been switched off 72 times.
"But our speaker didn't switch off the microphone when leader of the opposition was speaking," she pointed out.
The prime minister warned that corruption and corrupt would not be tolerated any more.
"The corrupts, who looted orphanage's money and trafficked them outside the country, would be brought back in the country," she said.
She added Anticorruption Commission has been given authority to work independently.
"We have limited resources and assets. As a result, when a section of people start looting, other section become poor. But this trend would not be tolerated further as we want to ensure equal distribution of resources and wealth," she added.
She warned that stern action would be take against the persons involved in any crime or corruption whether he would be the member of the ruling party.
Hasina urged the people from all walks of life and all party affiliation to come forward in order to build national unity for eradication poverty from the country.
She said the government had started building the social safety net to ensure food security in the country. "As part of building social safety net, we introduced Vulnerable Group Feeding (VGF) cards among the poor. Simultaneously, shelter centres for the homeless people, will also be set up," the prime minister said.
Finance minister AMA Muhith, chief whip and chairperson, all party parliamentary group and co-chair of Anti-Poverty Campaign National Committee, vive-principal Abdus Shahid, Bangladesh Economic Association chairman Kazi Kholiquzzaman, Global director , United Nations Millennium Campaign Salil Shetty and secretary general all-party parliamentary group and member secretary, Anti-Poverty Campaign National Committee Shishir Shil also spoke on the occasion.
Abdul Hamid, speaker, Bangladesh parliament and chairperson Anti-Poverty Campaign National Committee presided over the programme.
Apart from them ministers, government high officials, foreign diplomats and the members of civil society also attended the function.
The UNDP has approved a budget of $ 1.28 lakh for the programme which will be spread over three days.

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