Barishal cheers Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as she arrives to address campaign rally

The southern riverine district of Barishal has been in a festive mood marking the visit of the Awami League president Sheikh Hasina, her first to the area in five years.

Hasina, the president of ruling Awami League, is visiting Barishal as part of her campaign tour ahead of January 7 general election.

Thousands of AL leaders, including party’s candidates and activists, shouted slogans in favour of its election symbol, boat, as the party chief arrived here in the morning.

Hasina will address an election rally at the historic Bangabandhu Udyan in the divisional headquarters. Decorated with banners, posters and flags the city welcomed the PM.

Although the premier was scheduled to join the rally at 3pm, hundreds of thousands of people thronged packed into the rally ground since early morning.

Within a few hours the ground filled to the brim as a good number of people were seen taking position around the ground overnight to secure their places.

The crowd then spilled over the surrounding areas, roads and empty places long before she was to take the stage made after the shape of a boat.  

Since early morning, a stream of people, including women, were seen marching towards the venue chanting slogans “Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu” and holding colourful placards, banners and festoons. Many of them wearing colourful T-shirts, cap on heads, head bands with drums, election symbol boat as well as national and party flags.

Women in large and small groups waited in queues outside the entrance to the venue with smiling faces.

Leaders and followers of Awami League and its associates bodies from different districts of Barishal division as well as adjoining districts joined the rally with a fleet of boats, reserve buses, pickups, motorcycles while many were seen joining the rally on foot.

Earlier, the prime minister started at 9am by road from her official residence Dhaka for Barishal to join the rally.

From Barishal, the premier will go to Tungipara, her birth place.

On Saturday she has schedule to address two rallies in Tungipara and Kotalipara, and then on her way back to Dhaka she will address another rally at Kalkini in Madaripur.

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