Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday said that the government had nothing to do if any party skipped the next general elections.
‘The next general elections will be held on time in accordance with the constitution. The government has nothing to do, if any party skips the polls,’ she said at a press conference at her official residence Ganabhaban.
‘They [the Bangladesh Nationalist Party] failed to foil the 2014 general elections. They will not be able to foil the polls this time too. The parties, which have confidence in the people and believe in democracy, will participate in the polls,’ she said.
In her written speech, the prime minster remembered the martyred of the 1952 language movement –– Salam,  Barkat, Rafique,Jabbar, Shafiur Rahman and others –– for their contributions to the movement and said that the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was involved in the language movement.
Sheikh Mujib was also involved in the formation of the committee to lead the language movement, Sarba Daliya Bhasa Sangram Parishad, Hasina added.
Hasina, also the ruling Awami League president, came up with the remarks on elections amid BNP’s threat to foil the next polls if held without BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, jailed on February 8 in a the Zia Orphanage Trust case.
BNP, along with all opposition parties, boycotted the January 5, 2014 general elections and continued movement for parliamentary elections under a non-party neutral government, as the government scrapped the constitutional provisions for election-time caretaker government by the fifteenth amendment to the constitution in 2011.
Referring to BNP’s threat, the AL president said that it was a democratic right of any party to contest the polls or not.
‘It is an internal decision of a party whether to contest the polls or not. Elections will be held on time and will wait for none,’ she said, adding that people would also cast votes.
She alleged that BNP carried out mayhem in 2013, 2014 and 2015 killing 500 people and burning 3,000.
She said that as people started resisting against the destructive acts, they [BNP] stopped doing so.
On Khaleda’s conviction, the prime minister said that the government had nothing to do with the verdict given by the court on February 8.
‘The court has delivered the verdict. We cannot withdraw the verdict. If they do not want to participate in the elections on this particular issue, we have nothing to do,’ she said.
The prime minster came down heavily on BNP for threatening to foil the upcoming national polls.
‘The party, founded unconstitutionally, issues such a threat.  It is the character of the party,’ she said adding that late president Ziaur Rahman founded the party assuming power unconstitutionally.
Hasina criticised BNP for amending its party constitution to pave ways for corrupt individuals to hold party positions.
‘The party has made acting chief such an individual who has been in hiding. Is there not a single leader who can be made acting chairperson?’ she said.
BNP made Tarique Rahman its acting chairperson following the conviction of Khaleda.
The court, which jailed Khaleda for five years, also sentenced Tarique to imprisonment for seven years in the same case. 
Without naming Tarique, the prime minister said that the person went to London giving an undertaken during the army-backed interim regime that he would no more be involved in politics.
Referring to her detention during the interim regime, Hasina said that she made Zillur Rahman as the acting AL president after the court sent her to jail.
‘Instead of picking up someone from my family, I have made Zillur Rahman as the acting president of the party. Does the BNP not get anyone? Is there no one in the party eligible for the post?’ she said.
Hasina held the press conference on the outcome of her recent official visit to Italy and Vatican City. 
She went to Italy on February 11 on a four-day official visit to join the meeting of Rome-based International Fund for Agricultural Development as one of its keynote speakers at the invitation of IFAD president Gilbert F Houngbo.
At the invitation of Pope Francis, Hasina also visited the Holy See and held meetings with the Pope and secretary of Cardinal Pietro Parolinl.
Finance minister AMA Muhith, agriculture minister Matia Chowdhury, information minister Hasanul Haq Inu and road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader, also the AL general secretary, attended the press conference.

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