Dhaka, Nov 6: Bangladesh's former Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina returned home on Thursday, Nov 6, amid tumultuous reception after staying nearly five months in US for treatment. Hasina, who is vying for power said parliamentary elections must be held on December 18 to install an elected government to overcome present crises in economic front. She said main challenge before the next elected government will be to tackle food prices and fight against hunger and poverty.
Hasina who ruled the country for five years from 1996 called for national unity by forgetting vendetta and bitterness of the past. "I don't believe in politics of vendetta. The country needs unity and reconciliation," she told journalists on her return at Zia international airport. Hasina is facing several corruption cases like her rival another former prime minister Khaleda Zia as the present military backed caretaker government launched anti-corruption drive to clean up politics. She was released on parole on June 11 and went to America for treatment of her ears and eyes.
Witnesses said thousands of people stood along the 16 kms road from the airport to her residence at Dhanmondi in central Dhaka and cheered their leader by chanting slogans and showering petals. The mass reception caused huge traffic congestions in the capital. Khaleda Zia, chairperson of Bangladesh Nationalist Party, was the Prime Minister for two terms since 1991 and is also a main contender for next power. She was recently released on bail in corruption cases.