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'Offered hassle-free re-election in return for allowing airbase in Bangladesh': PM Hasina

Hasina, 76, ruling the strategically located South Asian nation since 2009, secured a fifth overall term in the one-sided election in January, which was boycotted by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia.
Last Updated : 27 May 2024, 11:51 IST
Last Updated : 27 May 2024, 11:51 IST

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Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that she was offered a hassle-free re-election in the January 7 polls if she allowed a foreign country to build an airbase inside Bangladeshi territory.

Hasina, 76, ruling the strategically located South Asian nation since 2009, secured a fifth overall term in the one-sided election in January, which was boycotted by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia.

"If I allowed a certain country to build an airbase in Bangladesh, then I would have had no problem", The Daily Star Bangladesh quoted Hasina as saying on Sunday.

She, however, did not name the country that had made the offer to her but emphasised that the "offer came from a White man".

"The offer came from a White man", Hasina, the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father and first president of Bangladesh.

"It may appear that it is aimed at only one country, but it is not. I know where else they intend to go", she said, adding that this is why her Awami League party-led government is always in trouble.

"There will be more trouble. But don't worry about it", she said.

When asked about her response to the "White man" who put forward the offer, the prime minister said she made the same reply as she did in 2001 when the US offered to sell the country's gas to India.

"I've clearly said that I'm the daughter of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. . . we won our Liberation War, I don't want to come to power by renting part of the country or handing it over to some other country and I don't need power", she said.

The premier said she would only come to power if the people wanted, and wouldn't if they did not want her to see as prime minister.

Hasina said trade and commerce have been going on in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean since ancient times.

"Many have their eyes on this place. There is no controversy in this place and no one has conflict in it. I won't let that happen. This is also one of my crimes", she said.

Hasina said she was fighting a battle everywhere, both at home and abroad, and the "conspiracies are still on" to carve a new country out of Bangladesh.

"Like East Timor… they will carve out a Christian country, taking parts of Bangladesh (Chattogram) and Myanmar with a base in the Bay of Bengal", Hasina said without providing any details.

She said that conspiracies were being hatched to topple her government and that she might have to face the same consequences her father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, had faced, The Daily Star reported.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated on August 15, 1975, along with most of his family members except for his two daughters, including Sheikh Hasina who had been staying abroad at that time.

Meanwhile, Hasina said that conspiracies did not bother her and she would never bow down to pressure.

The premier also said Bangladesh would not purchase anything from countries who imposed sanctions on it, a top leader of the 14-party alliance quoted Hasina as saying in a closed-door meeting.

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Published 27 May 2024, 11:51 IST

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