By Sumi Khan
Dhaka, Jan 31 (IANS): Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said on Tuesday that the 15th amendment to the Constitution has strengthened the country's democracy and empowered people to choose public representatives without anyone grabbing of power illegally.
Claiming that former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia had prepared a voters' list with 1.23 crore fake voters to hold a farcical election, Hasina said that the Election Commission (EC) has been constituted through a search committee following a law enacted by her government that has made it more transparent and accountable.
The government has also given complete financial independence to the poll panel, she said.
Speaking at the oath-taking ceremony of the newly-elected Mayor of Rangpur City Corporation (RCC) and its councillors, including those elected from the seats reserved for women, at her office in Dhaka, Hasina said: "Stability is prevailing in the country due to the introduction of the 15th amendment to the Constitution and continued democratic process for a long time. Now, no unelected person can capture state power illegally."
The premier said that people's empowerment has become a matter of heart burning for a section of so-called intellectuals, as they can never come to power through people's vote, so they repeatedly try to hamper the democratic process.
"Those who are never elected by the people and are afraid of facing the masses, have an inner burning due to this reason," she said.
The Prime Minister said that the apex court had declared grabbing power by issuing martial law after violating the country's Constitution as illegal.
Hasina also urged people to remember that the Awami League (AL) government is the only government in Bangladesh's history which handed over power peacefully after the completion of its 1999-2001 tenure.
The Prime Minister said that her government is giving home to the homeless and landless people free of cost, following the footsteps of her father, late Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
"The Father of the Nation gave Independence to the country. None will remain homeless and landless in the Mujib's Bangla," she said.
Hasina mentioned that the transparent ballot box system and preparing voters' list with photographs had been introduced in accordance with the proposal of the Awami League-led grand alliance in order to hold free and fair elections.
On the occasion, the Prime Minister administered oath to the new RCC Mayor, Mostafizar Rahman Mostafa, while the newly-elected councillors were sworn-in by LGRD and Cooperatives Minister, Md Tazul Islam.
Jatiya Party-backed candidate Mostafa won the mayoral race for the second consecutive term in the elections held on December 27, 2022.