Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has gifted quality and ability to run the country and she is one of the few leaders in the world having political acumen and bravery to tackle any critical situation, said former Indian President Pranab Mukherjee.
The veteran Indian politician made the observation about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina while exchanging views with the daily sun Editor, Enamul Hoque Chowdhury, in New Delhi recently.
Profusely praising the leadership of Sheikh Hasina, he admitted that under her leadership Bangladesh has gained momentum in the sphere of economic development.
“She has unique leadership quality which is an example in South Asia. Keeping her head cool in all difficult times, she has been trying to uplift the living standard of the people of her country boldly. I have come across a few leaders in the world who has such courage like her,” he said.
Drawing an analogy between the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his daughter Sheikh Hasina, he said she resembles her father in showing political ingenuity, vision and magnanimity.
“She is a true heir of her Father Sheikh Mujibur Rahaman, who had dreamt to create a Sonar Bangla. Hasina is trying to achieve the goal what her father dreamt. Bangladesh people are fortunate to have a leader like her.”
It was not a leisure day for former President of India Pranab Mukherjee. Immediately returning from Kolkata, he attended an award-giving ceremony for the journalists by Foreign Correspondent Club of India in New Delhi. Yet, he was courteous enough to spend a few moments with the daily sun editor in his residence late in the evening. In an interaction for about half an hour, he told a lot about the present day Bangladesh and its remarkable achievement in all spheres of the society. He has a special affinity for Bangladesh in his heart which he does not hesitate to express.
“I was overwhelmed by the response of Bangladesh when I received the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna. As I received the award from the President of India Ramnath Kovind, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina telephoned me and congratulated me. I will not forget her kind words to me,” Pranab said.
He also said, “Prime Minister Hasina has requested me to visit Bangladesh again in any suitable time. I know that she would be visiting India in early month of October. Hope, this visit would generate a lot of enthusiasm in both countries and the bilateral relations would reach a newer height.”
Known as “the quintessential man,” Pranab recalled the experience of his last visit to Bangladesh. “I was amazed to see the development around the country. When I was travelling to the village of Masterda Surya Sen, I did not find a single kachha (Mud) house. Though there were a few houses with tin roof, the walls of those houses were pacca (Brick built). This made me believe that purchasing capacity of the people is rising,” he said.
He said Bangladesh will soon attain the status of a developed country.
He indicated that if he finds time to visit Bangladesh, he has a plan to go to the northern belt, especially Sylhet. He has a plan to visit Habiganj. He will go to Kishoreganj which is the home town of incumbent President Abdul Hamid. He also knows that once this place was under Mymensingh district from where many legendary Indian political leaders came. They include communist leader Vupesh Gupta.
Asked about the way his time is being spent, he said, “I attend many programmes in different places of the country. Every month I go to Kolkata and attend at least four-five programmes. Next month, I have a plan to go to Kolkata again.”
He has no hesitation to accept the fact that he is the second Bengali administrator after the chief minister of West Bengal Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy to receive the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna.
Other Bengalees who got this award were either economist or artist and social worker. Presently, he is busy finalising his memoirs as the 13th President of India. It will be published both in Bengali and English.