Sheikh Hasina rivals tell Bangladesh ‘don’t vote, don’t pay taxes’. Her reply

Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Hasina launched her campaign for a fifth term as the country’s opposition parties protested over unfair elections. Kickstarting two weeks of campaigning ahead of the general elections scheduled for January 7, Sheikh Hasina said, “If I can form government again, we will turn the entire of Bangladesh into a prosperous and developed country. There will be no homeless and landless people.”

Sheikh Hasina: Prime minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina is seen. (Reuters)

This comes as opposition parties condemned the “farcical” general elections saying that the polling could be manipulated in favour of Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League party.

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The 76-year-old is assured of winning the polls, riding on impressive economic growth since she took over the country in 2009.

What has the Opposition said on Sheikh Hasina

The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) as well as Jamaat-e-Islami and dozens of smaller parties- have said that no election will be free and fair with Sheikh Hasina in power.

“We urge the country people to stick to the demands for restoring democracy and boycott the farcical vote,” the BNP said in a statement.

What about BNP’s call for civil disobedience

The BNP called for civil disobedience across the country as opposition parties have been holding regular nationwide strikes and transport blockades to demand for a vote under a neutral government. Sheikh Hasina has rejected this as unconstitutional as she accused the opposition of carrying out a deadly arson attack on a train that killed four people in Dhaka and of sabotaging a railway track last week.

“The BNP-Jamaat alliance has been continuing these extremist and terrorist acts,” Sheikh Hasina said.

Police action against Bangladesh’ opposition

The police accused the BNP of the deadly train fire while the party has denied all charges. Police also arrested thousands of opposition officials and activists over charges of violence following protests that escalated on October 28. During the demonstrations, at least 11 people were killed and 376 vehicles burnt, news agency AFP reported citing official data.

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