Hasina: Reducing prices, alleviating poverty first priorities for Bangladesh’s new gov’t

By Xinhua,

Dhaka : Bangladeshi Prime Minister hopeful Sheikh Hasina said Wednesday that the first task of her government will be to cut prices of essentials down within the purchasing power of the commoners and eradicate poverty.

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“Our real victory will come if we can also ensure rule of law, human rights and good governance,” Hasina said here Wednesday in the first press conference held after her party Awami League won resounding victory in Monday’s 9th parliamentary elections.

Awami League won more than two-third majority in 300-member parliament causing a huge debacle for immediate past Prime Minister Khaleda Zia-led Bangladesh Nationalist Party who got only 29 seats.

Hasina appealed to all including the opposition to work together for the betterment of the country by shunning past politics of vengeance and conflict. She offered post of the Deputy Speaker and some chairmanships of the parliamentary standing committees from the opposition.

Hasina also sought cooperation from her rival Khaleda Zia in running the country and making the new Parliament effective.

“In parliamentary democracy the opposition is a partner of the government and we will welcome their constructive criticisms and good suggestions,” she said.

Asked about Khaleda’s rejection of the election results, Hasina said she should accept the people’s verdict because the election was free, fair and transparent.

On poverty alleviation, Hasina said educating people is the main way to eradicate poverty. Besides, she has some social and micro-credit programs and also will provide subsidy to agriculture sector to boost production.

Asked about the energy issue, Hasina said while in power from 1996-2001 her government increased the electricity production from1600 MW to 4200 MW. This time she would use various options to increase the production of electricity.

On terrorism in South Asia, Hasina proposed formation of a joint task force to take joint action against terrorist activities in the region. She said Bangladesh’s soil can never be used by any terrorist activities.

Awami League won 231 seats from 299 seats in the just concluded elections. The election for one seat will be held on Jan. 12 next year due to the death of one candidate.