Prime minister Sheikh HasinaPrime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday urged the countrymen to keep up the achievement dedicating Bangladesh’s graduation to a developing nation to them as she was accorded a grand reception for her stewardship for the landmark development.”This achievement has been possible as we worked together . . . it’s the achievement of the people as they are the main strength (for the graduation),” she told a grand reception at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.The premier added: “I want this achievement to continue and it is not lost in any way.”The premier congratulated the people of all classes and professions in view of the achievement as she was accorded the reception for her stewardship to Bangladesh’s eligibility for graduating from the group of least development countries (LDCs).Coinciding with the reception she also opened a weeklong countrywide programme to celebrate Bangladesh’s graduation.The prime minister said the graduation proved again that people of the country could achieve everything they wanted and this achievement will have to be retained so that this journey did not stop.Economic Relations Division organised the reception with Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith in the chair while United Nations Under secretary-general Fajita Manual Katua Utau Common spoke on the occasion.A written message of UNDP administrator Achim Steiner was also read out at the function where ERD secretary Kazi Shafiqul Azam delivered the welcome address.UN secretary general Antonio Guterres , World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, Asian Development Bank president Takehiko Nakao, USAID administrator Mark Green and JICA president Shinichi Kitaoka have sent separate video messages on the occasion.Ministers, premier’s advisers, lawmakers, politicians, chiefs of three armed services, diplomats, representatives of development partners, business community leaders, senior journalists, educationists, writers, artistes and literatures, senior civil and military officials joined the function.The prime minister said as a proud nation, Bangladesh wants to move keeping its head high as “we liberated the country through struggle and war . . . So why we will lag behind and why we will not stand our own feet and we’ve proved that we can”.She said whatever achievements the country made belonged to the people as “these achievements were not possible, unless we got their response and cooperation and they elect us to power”.The prime minister said the state power meant to her the opportunity to serve the people and “the power is not for me to enjoy luxury and change my own fate”.Sheikh Hasina, also the daughter of Bangabandhu, said her father taught her that the politics means changing the lot of the people and “we’ve been working with a goal so that the people stay good and this success has been possible due to it”.At the function, the finance minister handed over the letter of the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) of the United Nations that declared the eligibility of Bangladesh for graduating from the LDCs to the prime minister.Sheikh Hasina also released a commemorative postage stamp issued by Bangladesh Post Office on the occasion alongside a commemorative currency note of Tk 70 denomination issued by Bangladesh Bank.Post and telecommunications minister Mustafa Jabbar and Bangladesh Bank governor Fazley Kabir were present on the occasion.Later information minister Hasanul Huq Inu, state minister for information Tarana Halim, information secretary Abdul Malek and principal information officer Begum Kamrun Nahar handed over a photo album to the prime minister.The prime minister said she has been running the state with a vow to change the lot of the people and present a beautiful life to them. “So, we have to keep up the development spree initiated during our tenure to achieve the goal,” she said.”We want that Bangladesh will advance further and be established as a hunger and poverty-free Sonar Bangla holding the hand of this achievement,” she added.Citing the historic 7 March speech of Bangabandhu, Sheikh Hasina said in his speech, the father of the nation had vowed that none would be able to suppress the Bangalees. “It has been proved again through Bangladesh’s graduation to a developing country,” she said.The prime minister said the nation had to cross many hurdles to achieve this success. “We had to advance being pierced of thorn on the leg,” she said.Expressing her gratitude to the almighty Allah for the achievement, Sheikh Hasina said she had to face repeated death attempts on her life, including the 21 August grisly grenade attack. “I never scared to death and don’t scare it,” she said.Recalling the dark chapter of Bangladesh after the assassination of Bangabandhu, the prime minister said she returned home in 1981 amid a hostile environment of the country. “At that time, the killers of Bangabandhu and war criminals were allowed by the then government to roam freely, do politics and put on the state power by promulgating infamous indemnity ordinance,” she said.”From that situation, we had started our journey and work for the welfare of the people and now we took the country one step forward,” she said.Paying tributes to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the premier said the father of the nation had realised Bangladesh’s recognition as an LDC. “Now we have been able to graduate Bangladesh as a developing country…I don’t know whether he is seeing this achievement of Bangladesh’s people from the heaven,” she said in an emotion charged voice.She said Bangabandhu wanted to bring smiles on the faces of the common people and he also wanted that the people would get a better life. “Today, the door of that possibility has been opened. Had Bangabandhu been alive, we could earn this achievement within 10 years of independence,” she said.Sheikh Hasina said the Father of the Nation had a long-cherished aspiration that people of this country would enjoy political freedom along with economic emancipation.The people of Bangladesh would get square meals, clothes and a better life – was his dream, she said, adding that he witnessed the sufferings and deprivation of people of this soil with his own eyes from the British colonial period to the Pakistani era.”No other else than Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had better idea about the real condition of the people. So, he struggled all over his life to change the fate of the common people,” she said.Sheikh Hasina reiterated her government’s determination to build Bangladesh as a middle income country by 2021 and developed one by 2041.”We will celebrate the birth centenary of Bangabandhu in 2020 and I have firm belief that we will certainly be able to establish a hunger and poverty-free Sonar Bangla as dreamt by the father of the nation by that year,” she said.The prime minister elaborated her government’s stunning successes in various fields, including agriculture, economy, education, health, power and poverty alleviation.She said her government wants to build Bangladesh as a developed and prosperous country in South Asia by 2041. “We may be not alive at that time, but we wish that the new generation must take the country forward and Bangladesh will get the honour as the best country in this region by that year.”A video documentary on the country’s stunning development that took place in different sectors in the last nine years was displayed at the function while another documentary containing the comments of working-class people about Bangladesh’s development under the leadership of prime minister Sheikh Hasina was screened.Earlier, the prime minister was greeted with bouquets on behalf of president Abdul Hamid, Jatiya Sangsad speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, the chief justice, the leader of the opposition in parliament, the chiefs of three services, the cabinet division, the 14-party, the police, government officials, freedom fighters, educationists, business leaders, journalists, artistes, litterateurs, sportspersons, women organisations, working-class people, the people with disabilities, children representatives and NGO representatives.Earlier, the prime minister paid tributes to father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by placing a wreath at his portrait.The UN Committee for Development Policy (CDP) on 15 March officially declared the eligibility of Bangladesh for graduating from the LDCs and handed over a formal letter in this regard to Bangladesh’s permanent representative to the UN Masud Bin Momen on the following day.