April 6, 2017 - 4:05pm
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said the 2001 national election had a result of a huge conspiracy against her party and she was a witness to it. ‘I was the direct witness to that incident (reaching an understanding) as BNP gave undertaking to sell gas if they could go to power,’ she said.
The prime minister came up with the revelation while addressing the grand conference of Diploma Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh at the auditorium of Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh in the city.
During the caretaker regime, just before the 2001 national election, Hasina recalled, she along with her then party general secretary Zillur Rahman and BNP chief Khaleda Zia and BNP’s secretary general Mannan Bhuiyan attend a luncheon at the house of then caretaker government head Latifur Rahman.
Hasina said former US president Jimmy Carter attended the luncheon meeting where the issue of selling gas by a US company to India came up for discussions. ‘Then I had told the US president (Bill Clinton) what I was to say during his visit to Dhaka and my visit to the US. So, there’ll be no change in my policy,’ Hasina added.
At one point of the discussion, the prime minister said she along with Zillur Rahman came out of that meeting, but BNP chief Khaleda Zia and Mannan Bhuiyan were still there at the meeting and gave undertaking to sell gas to another country. ‘If you look back at the results of the 2001 national election, you could find that AL got the higher popular votes, but it couldn’t win the majority seats in parliament. There was no doubt that it was a huge conspiracy against our party,’ she added.
Hasina said she had told then US president Bill Clinton following his request to sell gas to India that she was not aware of the real gas reserve in Bangladesh and the country’s gas resource belongs to its people. ‘I told Bill Clinton that if there was any additional reserve of at least 50 years’ gas after fulfilling the country’s demand, only then we can sell the additional one, or else not, and it was quite natural for a president to be unhappy hearing this,’ Hasina said in her flashback.
Earlier, the prime minister inaugurated the grand conference through hoisting the national flag and releasing white pigeons at the Krishibid Institution’s auditorium. Agriculture minister Begum Matia Chowdhury and AL organising secretary AFM Bahauddin Nasim spoke on the occasion as special guests. Chaired by Diploma Krishibid Institution president ATM Abul Kashem, it was also addressed by its secretary general Md Abdur Rashed Khan.