Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today launch her Awami League party's manifesto for Bangladesh's controversial polls, vowing to punish "anarchists" behind the death of nearly 130 people in recent political violence.
"Those who are killing people, unleashing a rein of terror, destroying mosques and industries, damaging and disrupting rail and road communications, destroying public and private properties, attacking minorities and their place of worship, will have to face punishment," she said.
The Awami League will also ensure the completion of trials of those accused of atrocities during the 1971 Liberation War and implement punishment handed out by war crimes tribunals, she added.
The premier launched the 48-page manifesto for the January 5 polls amidst a face-off between the Awami League and the BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance, which plans to defy a government ban on its protest march tomorrow to press for the postponement of the polls.
Serious questions have been raised about the credibility of the polls as former premier Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and one of Hasina's former allies, Jatiya Party, are boycotting the polls. The fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami party, a key ally of the BNP, has been disqualified from contesting polls by the Bangladesh High Court, which said it opposes secularism.
In the absence of any credible opposition, 154 Awami League candidates are set to be elected uncontested to the 300-member parliament. "This (January 5 polls) is a farce, not an election, rather a shameless selection," Zia had said earlier.
Awami League's manifesto also promised a powerful anti-corruption commission, de-politicisation of law enforcement agencies and decentralisation of the administration.
Hasina pledged to to take necessary steps to increase GDP growth to 10 per cent from the current 6.2 per cent.
She said her party will build a "hunger and poverty free" Bangladesh by completing ongoing development projects and establishing rule of law. "Our long-term goal is to upgrade the status of Bangladesh to the level of front ranking nations by 2050...phase-wise plans are to be adopted towards that end," she said.
The manifesto also promised to supply electricity to every home, bring the entire country under 4G telephony and construct a second bridge on the Jamuna and Padma rivers, the lifelines of the country.