Awami League chief Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said her political rivals will be dealt with politically as an anti-government coalition formed ahead of the general elections has waged a movement with its first rally.
The ruling partys main rival the BNP, a member of the Dr Kamal Hossain-led alliance, alleges that the Hasina government oppresses dissent by using the administration.
“I never back off from tackling political rivals in any way. I tackle them politically,” Hasina told parliament in response to criticism by the BNP, which has no representative in the House after boycotting the 2014 elections.
The BNP raised a seven-point charter of demand at the Jatiya Oikya Front alliances rally in Sylhet on Wednesday.
The demands include release of the partys jailed chief Khaleda Zia and dissolution of parliament before holding the general elections with a non-partisan government in power.
Gono Forum chief Dr Kamal urged all to get ready for a united movement to “restore” democracy at the rally.
Welcoming the Front once again, Hasina hoped that different political parties would forge more alliances and contest in the elections.
“I believe this (all parties contesting elections) will strengthen the foundation of democracy,” she said.
Sagufta Yasmin, an MP from the ruling party, asked if the government had plans to take action against those who “got united to hatch a conspiracy to destabilise the country”.
“Some of those who have got together cannot even honour people while speaking. We can hear many things, including their misogynist mindset, offensive language towards women,” Hasina said in reply, referring to the remarks by Mainul Hosein on TV.
Mainul, a former adviser to the military-controlled caretaker government and the publisher and editorial board chief of The Daily New Nation, was sent to jail on Tuesday in a case started for “defaming the women” by calling a female journalist “a woman with loose morals”.
“If the aggrieved seek justice for indecent remarks made by someone, it is the states duty to get him or her tried. The state is doing and will continue doing so,” Hasina said.
She also urged the people to give the Awami League another chance to serve the country by voting it back to power.
In response to another question, the prime minister said the government was in discussion with the UK about the repatriation of BNP acting chief Tarique Rahman to ensure he serves jail terms given for corruption, money laundering and the deadly Aug 21, 2004 grenade attack targeting her.