I want to celebrate 50 years of liberation in my tenure
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in an exclusive interview with Gautam Lahiri spoke on a variety of issues. Hasina is the longest serving PM in the history of Bangladesh.
Q: Why will people vote for you?
A: Major achievement is democracy has survived and thrived for decade and continuation of govt despite several move for destabilisation . In Without continuous democracy you cannot develop a country. After three years of liberation my father Bangabandhu was assassinated along with most of the family members. Luckily we survived. There have been 19 coup d'etats thereafter. Emergency has been imposed time and again. We want democracy to continue. Moreover we reduced poverty level and ensured food security. Tried to fulfill all the basic needs of the people. In every sector we addressed to solve problem, particularly development in short period of time in social sector, which is recognised by internationally famous economist.
Q: What opportunites have you created?
A: We have opened the door of investment. Created good opportunity for people to build their life, increased purchasing power of our people. Our GDP crossed 6 per cent. Currently at 7.6 per cent. We came to power when there was no development. It was a big challenge.High rate of GDP and inflation under control makes the basic parameter of the economy sound. People are enjoying the fruits of development. Now I want to complete the unfinished task for setting up Padma setu which will increase our GDP by 1.2%. Therefore my appeal to people to elect us for taking our country forward.
Q: Are you disappointed that India didn't deliver on the Teesta agreement?
A: How can I comment on Teesta. Its your government to tell me. But I am confident you have democratic system in the country. Fortunately your experience is not like us. You don't had dictatorship. Only democratic system can resolve all outstanding issue. Who thought about Ganga water sharing agreement .In our country a section of people spread that I cannot solve land boundary agreement. But it all happened. I am confident that Teesta problem also will be solved.
Q: We find Teesta is not a major issue here in elections. But how do you see the unresolved issue to be solved?
A: Once West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee promised me to resolve the issue. I understand her compulsion. Now it should be looked into holistically. Geographically India can not hold water as Bangladesh is in lower riparian state. But in fact there is a problem of water shortage. I told both your Prime Minister Modi and Chief Minister to take up dredging of the river urgently. We have started this work in Bangladesh. Here We are conserving water . Now India is to do. I find there is lot of sand in the upper stream of the river. India can make small block brick industries with that sand. Joint River commission of both countries are working on it.
Q: How do you see unfolding of Rohingya issue? Once you had said blaming Suu Kyi will not solve problem.
A: The atrocities unleashed upon the poor Rohingya people forced their displacement. As India had helped us during 1971 war by giving shelter of millions of people We have also decided to give shelter to these unfortunate people in our country. Myanmar is our neighbour. We don't want to have quarrel with them. We only tried to impress upon them to take back their own cirtizens. But the people are here in Bangladesh they don't want to go back. Because of fear and adverse atmosphere. I told Myanmar Government to create a congenial atmosphere. After their arrival we introduced an identity card. Yet there is always danger for misguide these homeless people. Now international community has also creating pressure. Even in Myanmar there are 143 ethnic groups. They are also in conflict. Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi is also trying to cope with the situation. When I saw everyone is criticising her I felt bad. How can I ignore her struggle to make Myanmar a democratic country. Though she is there in the command still army people have influence over the Government. In Myanmar democracy is still in nascent stage. But I also want India should do more to convince Myanmar.
Q: What is your comment on corruption in the political system?
A: Well they tried to implicate me. But nothing was proved. It is my country. My father has gifted to us. Why should we do indulge in corruption. Many people come to me for their son or daughter. But I never thought of my family. My country is priority.
My son and my sister's son got educated themselves. I could not do anything. They made their carrier on their own. They were well educated from abroad. They got educational loan and joined jobs to repay loan. Now they are also working for their country. They are giving advice how make digital
Bangladesh and a modern Bangladesh.
Q: How confident you are of winning ?
A: I trust my people. They know that I will work for country. In my tenure I want to celebrate 50 years of Liberation of Bangladesh .It is time of Bangladesh to rise. The journey for Progress should not be stopped.
Q: You are so busy. How do you spend your leisure time?
A: Where is the time ? Sometimes listen to music and read books. But I have to read the Government files in the night.
Q: We heard you love cooking?
A: Oh yes whenever my grand children come they insist me for cooking. And even instruct me how to cook.
They love Bengali food. Even our daughter in laws also like my cooking. I help them for cooking. Hope to make my country secure and safe developed one, so that every citizen can live according to their likings.