Expectations from Sheikh Hasina’s election manifesto


Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and president of the Awami League, has unveiled an ambitious election manifesto aimed at transforming the country into a technologically advanced nation by 2041. The manifesto highlights 11 key areas, prioritizing job creation and a strong stance against corruption and price escalation.

In her announcement, Hasina acknowledged past governmental missteps over the last 15 years, urging forgiveness and promising to learn from these errors while aligning future actions with public expectations.

The manifesto outlines a vision for a “Smart Bangladesh” based on modern technology, increased investment in agriculture and industry, and bolstering the financial sector. It promises accessible healthcare, a universal pension scheme, law enforcement accountability, eradication of extremism, and a commitment to democratic principles at all levels.

The 98-page manifesto lays emphasis on controlling the prices of essentials, building a smart Bangladesh based on the use of modern technology, increasing investment on farming, expanding the industries, and empowering the financial sector including banks.

Emphasizing a “smart economy, smart government, smart society, and smart citizens”, the manifesto vows zero tolerance towards corruption and stringent measures against illegal wealth, bribery, and nepotism. It also aims to instill an anti-corruption ethos in students by incorporating anti-corruption teachings in the education curriculum.

About zero tolerance towards corruption and taking strict measures against illegal wealth, bribery, nepotism and abuse of power, Awami League said the party “has adopted a zero-tolerance policy against corruption. To this end, we have taken a concerted initiative with the people and are working to root out corruption from society. To inculcate an anti-corruption attitude among the students, chapters on the evils of corruption and what to do to prevent corruption will be added to the education curriculum”.

Regarding terrorism and communalism, the Awami League pledges to combat these threats, establish democratic rights for all citizens, and ensure a non-communal Bangladesh, rooted in the supremacy of the constitution and the rule of law.

The manifesto said, “The Awami League is committed to fighting against terrorism, establishing democratic rights for all citizens, and improving people’s quality of life. The supremacy of the constitution in the country’s governance, the establishment of the rule of law, and the formation of a society free from terrorism will be ensured. Bangladesh is home to people of all religions, castes, and professions. We want a non-communal Bangladesh”.

In terms of foreign policy, the manifesto underscores Bangladesh’s commitment to peaceful relations with other nations, citing its pursuit of friendship and cooperation, while also expressing a strong stance against terrorism within its borders. It highlights collaboration with neighboring countries in various domains and pledges efforts to prevent militant and separatist groups from operating within the region.

Awami League’s manifesto said, “We believe in peace but not in war. Bangladesh has occupied a strong and prestigious place in the international arena due to the success of Awami League’s foreign policy, following the principle of ‘friendship to all, malice towards none’ as directed by the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. If elected, Bangladesh’s development cooperation with all the countries will continue.

“Cooperation with neighboring countries will continue in various areas, including cross-border communication, transit, energy partnership, and equitable water sharing.

“Bangladesh is firmly determined to prevent the presence of militants, international terrorists, and separatist groups on its territory. The Awami League government will play an important role in forming the South Asia Task Force to combat terrorism and militancy to root it out from the entire region”.

Addressing the global economic impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Hasina expressed concerns about its repercussions on countries like Bangladesh, causing inflation and economic instability.

Sheikh Hasina said, “Russia-Ukraine war has transformed into an armed conflict as well as a staggering global economic conflict. The sanction and anti-sanction against each other have thrown the world economy into turmoil. The Least developed and developing countries like ours are being forced to import products at higher prices. A massive depreciation of the domestic currency has led to an increase in inflation, which has an impact on commodity prices and people’s lives. Several times, despite multifaceted and all-out efforts, we have not been able to curb the rise in prices of daily necessities. This problem is not only for our country, but this problem is also for all rich and poor countries”.

Additionally, she vowed to tackle propaganda against Bangladesh abroad, asserting a firm response against those misrepresenting the nation’s human rights situation and preventing misuse of cybersecurity laws.

However, amidst these promises, several critical points are raised. Concerns persist regarding the effectiveness of the government’s anti-corruption efforts, particularly in holding all individuals – regardless of social status or political affiliations – accountable post-election.

There’s also apprehension about the state’s response to certain groups, such as Hefazat-e-Islam, whose ideologies contradict democratic principles and promote radicalism. The balance between national security measures and appeasement remains a critical issue.

Moreover, addressing propaganda against Bangladesh necessitates capable individuals within the Awami League to effectively counter misinformation and uphold the country’s image internationally.

Lastly, while acknowledging Sheikh Hasina’s successful governance in bolstering Bangladesh’s economy, ensuring human rights and protecting religious minorities remain imperative for a comprehensive and inclusive future.

The upcoming January 7 elections will mark a critical juncture for Sheikh Hasina’s vision. Success in implementing the manifesto would signify Bangladesh’s advancement, while failure might pose significant challenges for the nation’s trajectory.

During the past 15 years, Sheikh Hasina already has proven her magnanimous statesmanship by turning an economically struggled Bangladesh into an economic star – a country with infinite possibilities. Now from January 7, 2024 it will be another challenging task to fully implement this election manifesto. If Sheikh Hasina succeeds – Bangladesh wins. If Sheikh Hasina fails – Bangladesh is ruined.


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