Terming the January 5 national election unique, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the country for the first time saw an elected government handing over power to another elected one.
“We’ve been able to continue the democratic process in the country and we hope this process will continue in the future, and that’s our aim,” she said.
Hasina, also the president of the ruling Awami League, came up with the remarks in her introductory speech in an interview session of nomination seekers of the reserved women seats in Parliament at her official residence Ganobhaban.
A total of 822 candidates from across the country collected nomination papers. In proportion of its seats it won in the parliamentary polls, AL will get 36 out of 50 seats reserved for women to nominate its candidates this time.
Referring to various obstacles created to foil the 10th general election, Sheikh Hasina said the election was held as part of the process of democratic march forward.
She thanked the people of the country, especially the female voters for their courage to defy all threats and go to the polling centers to cast their votes.
Describing various steps taken by her previous governments in 1996 and 2009 for the women empowerment, Hasina mentioned that her government for the first time in the country took some bold steps for improving their social standing.
In 1996, Hasina said, her government took initiatives to appoint Deputy Commissioner, Judge, Superintendent of Police, Officer-in-Charge (OC), Deputy Governor in Bangladesh Bank, female cadets in the Army, Navy and Air Force.
She also mentioned that her government in 1996 set aside 30 percent seat in union council elections enabling over 45,000 women to contest polls for 12,000 posts. “At that time, we had also faced tremendous pressure from some quarters,” Hasina recalled.
Further highlighting the country’s women empowerment, the premier said that at present the Speaker of Parliament, Leader of the House and leader of the opposition are all women.
“Women empowerment does not mean to just keep on shouting for that, you (women) have to attain the quality to grab that power and this is the reality,” she said.
Speaking on the occasion, AL general secretary Syed Ashraful Islam said it was very difficult for the AL Parliamentary Board (ALPB) to find out the 36 fittest women from 822 candidates.
“All of you are experienced and have the quality to be MPs,” he added.
But, he said, the Board will pick the fittest ones rising above the personal emotion and interest.
He mentioned that some local government elections will be held in the near future and the candidates who will not get the party ticket this time will get in the upcoming local body polls.
ALPB members Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Amir Hossain Amu and Suranjit Sengupta also spoke to the nomination seekers.
Jan 5 poll unique, upholds democratic process: PM