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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina kicks off election marketing campaign amid an opposition boycott

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DHAKA, Bangladesh — Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formally kicked off her ruling Awami League celebration’s marketing campaign Wednesday amid an election boycott by the nation’s essential opposition celebration.

Addressing an enormous rally within the northeastern metropolis of Sylhet, Hasina strongly criticized the Bangladesh Nationalist Occasion for refusing to take part within the Jan. 7 normal election. She additionally blamed the celebration, which is led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, and its allies for current acts of violence.

A whole lot of 1000’s of Awami League supporters cheered and raised their palms when Hasina requested if they’d solid their ballots for the ruling celebration’s candidates, the United Information of Bangladesh company reported.

The prime minister denounced the celebration of her archrival Zia after the nation’s railway minister alleged that arson and sabotage induced a fireplace on a passenger prepare that killed 4 folks Tuesday. Hasina joined the minister Wednesday in accusing the Bangladesh Nationalist Occasion of being behind it.

“They thought that with some incidents of arson the federal government will fall. It is not that straightforward,” United Information of Bangladesh quoted her as saying.

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“The place do they get such braveness? A black sheep sitting in London provides orders and a few individuals are right here to play with hearth. … Their palms will probably be burned in that fireplace,” Hasina mentioned in an obvious reference to Zia’s son, Tarique Rahman, who has been in self-exile within the United Kingdom since 2008.

Rahman was convicted of assorted legal violence prices, together with a 2004 grenade assault on an opposition rally when his mom was prime minister and Hasina was opposition chief. He’s the appearing chief of the Bangladesh Nationalist Occasion within the absence of the ailing Zia, who was convicted of corruption and sentenced to 17 years in jail.

On Wednesday, the celebration urged Bangladeshis to hitch a non-cooperation motion towards the federal government by refusing to pay taxes.

Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, a senior joint secretary-general of the celebration, additionally urged residents and authorities staff to not cooperate with Hasina’s administration in operating the nation and holding the election subsequent month through which is the prime minister is looking for a fourth consecutive time period.

Zia’s celebration has intermittently calling for transportation blockades and normal strikes whereas demanding Hasina’s resignation. The celebration says greater than 20,000 opposition supporters have been arrested since Oct. 28, when an enormous anti-government rally turned violent.

Authorities blamed the Bangladesh Nationalist Occasion for an assault on the official residence of the nation’s chief justice and the dying of a police officer on the day of the rally. Hasina’s critics say her administration has used the police and different companies to silence them.

Bangladesh is a parliamentary democracy with a historical past of violence, particularly earlier than and through elections. Campaigning for subsequent month’s vote started throughout the nation on Monday with about 1,900 candidates, together with many independents, operating for parliament seats in 300 constituencies.

Zia’s celebration’s name to boycott the polls got here after its calls for for a caretaker authorities to conduct the election weren’t met. The celebration accused Hasina of rigging the 2018 vote and mentioned it didn’t have any religion the approaching election can be honest. The boycott means voters have little alternative however to reelect Hasina.

The federal government has denied accusations of focusing on the opposition however warned that any “acts of sabotage” or “makes an attempt to create chaos” within the nation wouldn’t be tolerated.

The United Nations, the US and the European Union earlier urged all sides to chorus from violence and work collectively to create circumstances for a free, honest and peaceable election. A name for political dialogue received no response from the 2 main events.

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