Opposition calls on Bangladesh’s government to quit

May 3rd, 2009 - 12:08 am ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, May 2 (DPA) Bangladesh’s mainstream opposition leader Khaleda Zia Saturday asked her arch political rival Sheikh Hasina’s four-month-old government to quit over failure in “curbing terrorism and easing the power and water crisis”.
“Relinquish power as there is still time, don’t compel the people to drive you away. You have miserably failed to deliver in the last four months,” Zia, also a former prime minister, said while addressing a huge gathering at Dhaka’s Paltan Ground to mark May Day.

It was Zia’s first address of a public meeting since Hasina’s Awami League-led coalition assumed office with an overwhelming majority in parliament in early January.

Zia blasted Hasina for, among other things, failing to provide people with an adequate power and water supply.

She also accused the ruling party of gross politicisation of the administration and of telling lies against her Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led government between 2001 and 2006.

Hasina, who addressed a similar rally Friday, accused the former BNP government of indulging in corruption and swallowing most of the budgets allocated for electricity generation, resulting in the present crisis.

She also claimed that the families of then prime minister Zia siphoned off millions of dollars earned out of shady deals, which the present government would investigate.

At Saturday’s rally Zia challenged the prime minister’s claims saying, “If you (Hasina) have the courage, you have to prove the corruption during our regime.”

She blamed the former army-backed interim administration, which put her behind bars after taking over amid political chaos in early 2007, for deliberately filing false cases against her party leaders and family members.

Zia’s BNP party faced a debacle in the last general elections, obtaining only 29 seats in the 300-strong parliament while her rival Hasina bagged 230 parliamentary seats. Hasina was also detained by the military-backed government on graft charges.

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