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Awami League President Sheikh Hasina yesterday pledged to turn Dhaka city into a modern capital, urging the city dwellers to vote for the party candidates to achieve the goal - A home for your website

We have multifaceted plans to transform Dhaka into a scenic and liveable city, ensure all civic amenities and improve the public transport system...,” she said while addressing her first campaign rally in the capital for the December 30 polls.

“If voted to power again, we will construct an elevated ring road around Dhaka city.”

In her 30-minute speech, Hasina also promised that if her party returns to power, subway train service would be launched in the capital to end the nagging traffic congestion A survey is being conducted regarding underground metro rail, she added.Dhaka North AL organised the rally at Gulshan Youth Club ground as part of electoral campaigns for the party candidates in eight constituencies under Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC).

Coming down heavily on the BNP and its chairperson, the AL chief said

Khaleda Zia and her two sons -- Tarique Rahman and Arafat Rahman -- were involved in large-scale corruption when the BNP-led alliance was in power.

“Sheaf of paddy” (the BNP s electoral symbol) means militancy, money laundering, corruption and misappropriation of orphans money. On the other hand, “boat” (the AL s electoral symbol) means peace, progress and prosperity of people, she mentioned.

“We didn t indulge in corruption by creating Hawa Bhaban ... We will not do that. Our aim is not to make fortunes for ourselves like the BNP.

“Our aim is to bring prosperity to the people. We didn t misappropriate orphans funds like Khaleda Zia did.

“You [voters] have to cast your ballots, considering this The rally was scheduled for 2:00pm. AL leaders and activists started arriving at the venue since noon.

Party supporters in their hundreds gathered there with placards, festoons, and portraits of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Hasina. They also carried posters, banners and photographs of the eight AL candidates in Dhaka North.

The venue became full to the brim before Hasina arrived there around 3:40pm Addressing the rally, the AL president said if her party is voted to power again, it would construct flats for low-income people and put the electricity lines underground.

Amid cheers from party leaders and activists, she said her government resolved the acute crisis of water and electricity in the capital and other parts of the country after coming to power through the 2008 election.

Now the city is free from power cuts and water crisis, Hasina mentioned.

All the roads in the capital were in a poor condition when the AL took office in 2009. The city was also reeling from problems, including terrorism, militancy and mugging.

The AL-led government solved those problems one after another, she pointed out.

The AL chief further said her party s foremost goal is to change the lot of people, not to help its supporters make fortunes.

Once, Dhaka Medical College and Hospital was the only hospital for the city residents. The AL-led government set up hospitals in many parts of the capital for providing them with modern healthcare services, she said.

Hasina further said her government has already taken a project to build multi-storey buildings for slum dwellers and people from low and middle-income groups. They will be able to live in those flats on the basis of daily, weekly or monthly rents.

She mentioned that work on the metro rail and elevated expressway has been going on. An elevated ring road would also be built around the capital.

Dhaka city was divided into two parts, and all unions of Gulshan, Banani and a part of Dhaka North were brought under the DNCC to provide citizens with all civic amenities, she said.

At one stage of her speech, Hasina wanted to know from the audience whether they would cast votes for the AL. In response, the audience said “yes”.

Hasina said, “The tide is in favour of boat ... Boat will win, Inshallah.

“We will form a government again and serve you.”

The AL chief introduced the eight party candidates to the audience, urging voters to cast ballots for them.

The contenders are -- AKM Rahmatullah in Dhaka-11, Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal in Dhaka-12, Sadeq Khan in Dhaka-13, Aslamul Haq in Dhaka-14, Kamal Majumder in Dhaka-15, Ilias Uddin Mollah in Dhaka-16, actor Akbor Hossain Pathan popularly known as Farooque in Dhaka-17, Sahara Khatun in Dhaka-18 and Salman F Rahman in Dhaka-1