Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has warned that attempts to disrupt the coming general election will have negative consequences and urged the people to resist those who would stir unrest.
The Awami League president made the remarks after buying her party’s nomination form for participation in the 12th national parliamentary election. She was the first to do so, officially kicking off the Awami League’s attempt to win a fourth consecutive term in power on Saturday.
The prime minister said it was an auspicious day, and urged all candidates who wanted to run to collect their papers and take part in the polls. But, she warned those who committed arson attacks that their continued unrest would not lead to a good outcome.
“The people of the country will ultimately punish [these arsonists] and I call upon the people to do so. This is my message today – let no one disrupt this democratic process, which we have earned after much hardship.”
“Voting is the right of our countrymen. Through their votes, their preferred leaders will be elected to parliament, where laws will be passed and the state will be governed. This is the right of the people. The people will resist those who try to snatch these rights away through arson and I urge the people to do so.”
Hasina said she hoped Bangladesh’s development journey would continue uninterrupted at an unstoppable speed. She said the Bangladesh of 2041 would be a Smart Bangladesh and that her party had prepared the 100-year Delta Plan to ensure the country can hold its head high on the world stage.
The nomination papers were being sold at 10 booths set up at the Awami League’s central office. Each division was assigned at least one booth, with Dhaka and Chattogram receiving two.
The nomination forms will be organised by the parliamentary seat and then presented to the party’s parliamentary board. The board will scrutinise the candidate’s qualifications, their popularity and their work and select candidates.
The Awami League always does this in an organised and beautiful way and the selection process always adheres to the party constitution, Hasina said.
“Whoever the candidates end up being, there is no doubt that everyone is qualified. But, we can only select one nomination per seat and selecting that person is the job of the board. We have procedures to take opinions at the grassroots level as well. Candidates are selected based on the information received from the grassroots and they will take part in the election.”
The prime minister said she had believed that other parties would also take part in the election, and sent her thanks and congratulations to those parties who were participating in the polls.
Hasina paid Tk 50,000 to collect the nomination papers from the Dhaka Division booth on the second floor of the party’s headquarters. Afterwards, she spoke to party leaders and the media.
Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader was the second to collect the nomination form.
Candidates and their supporters created a festive atmosphere at the party offices on Saturday.
“Those who perhaps do not have faith in the people, who are not confident, and are not properly organised as a party are making an attempt to disrupt the election. But the damage done to a country when an election is disrupted is truly tragic.”
The Awami League is selling the nomination papers for the party’s candidates until Tuesday.
These forms must be submitted by 4 pm on Tuesday. The nomination board will then decide who will be selected to run in each parliamentary seat.
General Secretary Obaidul Quader had previously announced the increase in the price of the nomination papers from Tk 30,000 to Tk 50,000.
For the first time, the Awami League has allowed nomination papers for the 12th national parliamentary elections to be submitted online.
The Election Commission has announced Jan 7 for the date of the general election. Nomination papers can be submitted to the commission until Nov 30 and will be scrutinised from Dec 1 to Dec 4. Dec 17 is the last day for candidates to withdraw.