A hallmark of the behaviour of the leaders of the present Awami League government from the day it came to power this time up to last week, i.e., during the last 32 months, has been the exhibition of too much self-confidence which crossed the line of politeness many a time to become arrogance. Almost on every matter they wished to go it alone.
During this period Awami League quite often sneered or jeered at any suggestion of consensus or united action with the opposition and the civil society. As for the first among the two BNP and its associates were treated as pariah by them. About the civil society Awami League acted in a manner as if it owned them. But such self-assuredness is a virtue as long as one possessing it could do one's own work. Otherwise it becomes a folly which has a self-destructive button embedded in it. Is Awami League seeing this uncomfortable truth?
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced last Sunday that productivity would be a national movement from now and so would be development. She, however, added that the government would need cooperation of all in this regard. The same day Home Minister Sahara Khatun to her dismay heard businessmen telling her point blank that police extorted bribe from them (sometimes they asked for bakhshish). They further said that they and their work force often faced insecurity and policemen were not available on time to help them. This had happened at a meeting organised by the FBCCI with the Home Minister. One businessman wept as he said that in the posh Banani area of the capital drugs were sold freely and the children of the families living in the neighbourhood were becoming addicts. He asked the Home Minister to activate law enforcers against the drug dealers and to save the young people. Some of the businessmen said that most of the drugs were smuggled in from India.
Sahara Khatun was somewhat timid this time round than her usual belligerent self. She said that the government was trying to improve the law and order situation and that the improvement achieved is greater than any time in the past but to guarantee the government's full success cooperation from all others was also needed.
Foriegn Minister Dr.Dipu Moni too has not been her exuberant self since her return from New York. The debacles suffered by Bangladesh during Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's visit are clearly haunting her. Reports from New York say that the Bangladesh team to UN experienced isolation or at least marginalisation this time. And now word comes from Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith that World Bank is looking into complaints of corruption about the Padma Bridge project sent by sources in Bangladesh. He disclosed this in an interview with the New York-based weekly newspaper Thikana. He also said to it that the World Bank and IMF did not appear to be as warm as before and therefore work would have to be done back at home in Bangladesh.
At the same time roads, railway, power supply and other infrastructure are in poor shape. Not much money has been allocated by the government to repair and improve infrastructure all over the country and not just the capital. Price of all essential commodities are continuously going up. Cost of living has already reached to unbearable level for the common people. Discontent is showing.
The reason why Awami League wants the next election of the Jatiya Sangsad to be held with itself remaining in power is to make sure that the voting results are shown to have gone in its favour, one suspects. Awami League's previous track records (1973 and the Tangail by-election at valiant freedom-fighter Kader Siddiky's area) are bad. The main opposition party BNP is simply unable to trust Awami League to behave well in the next election of parliament. And Awami League, having unleashed a rein of greed and violence, and having failed to handle development work, is unable to trust the public to support it.
BY : Ataus Samad.