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Sheikh Hasina, eleventh parliament and aspiration of the people of Bangladesh

Will Shaikh Hasina Fulfill Her Promises?

Newly elected members of the 11th parliament but those elected MPs of BNP-led Jatiyo Oikya Front (National Unity Movement) have already taken the oath. Jatiyo Party, a coalition partner of the Awami League-led Grand Alliance has “unanimously” decided to be once again a part of the new government. Co-chairman of the party GM Quader told journalists, “Since we participated in the election under the banner of the Awami League-led alliance, we want to join the government. Who will sit on the opposition is not our concern.”

He further said, “We doubt if people will accept us as the opposition if we quit the grand alliance now to play the role of the opposition. We don’t want to sit on the opposition bench … This is a practical problem for us.”

From the statement of the leader of Jatiyo Party, one point has become crystal clear – this party is unwilling to sit in the opposition in the parliament as no one has ever accepted Jatiyo Party as a real opposition. Moreover, it also is clear, by joining the government; Jatiyo Party wants to gain numerous forms of benefits as it has since 2014. But the point here is – whether Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina this time will at all tag Jatiyo Party as part of the government, as in the past, the party, particularly its chairman has played series of dubious roles.

The next cabinet:

People of Bangladesh, in fact, are hoping for seeing a hundred per cent Awami League government this time. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina this time may exclude a number of controversial faces from the next cabinet and the ruling party would prefer having its own members in the sensitive and key ministries such as information ministry. If Jatiyo Party finally becomes a part of the government, the next parliament may not even have any opposition, which actually will only invite further controversies. It is well anticipated that the Prime Minister may this time pick up only efficient people with clean images in the cabinet as the ruling party now has increased responsibility to the people following its historic victory.

Misleading media offensives on Awami League:

Following the just concluded general election, there already is orchestrated media offensives on the ruling party and most surprisingly a section of Indian media is also becoming part of such propaganda. On January 3, 2019, leading Indian newspaper The Economic Times in an opinion editorial titled – ‘Why Bangladesh, a star in the developing world, looks pretty tarnished’ said, “…..The simple truth is that Sheikh Hasina will not rule forever. Nobody can. And if her turn towards authoritarianism also tarnishes, in Bangladeshis’ minds, the Awami League’s principles of secular nationalism and inclusion, then the reaction will be awful indeed — and the implications for the stability of South and Southeast Asia will be even worse.

“Bangladesh’s prime minister should think of this five-year term as her last and begin to plan for what happens when she eventually turns over power to the opposition, as all democratic leaders must in time. She will have to begin by rebuilding the institutions that her administration has destroyed.”

From the tone of this opinion, one can easily realize, a section of media have started a new episode of propaganda stating the next 5-year-term is the “last” for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and it even predicts parties like Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) returning to power. Here someone may ask – why the people of Bangladesh will vote those Islamist parties into power when they already have rejected them during the December 30 general election. Moreover, it is well anticipated that during the next five years, Bangladesh will achieve further socio-economic signs of progress under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina. So, once there is an election in 2023, people will once again vote in favour of Awami League and Sheikh Hasina will have her fourth consecutive term. The Economic Times possibly missed a point. Sheikh Hasina is now only 71 and Mahathir Mohammad became Malaysia’s Prime Minister at the age of 92. What makes the columnist of the Indian newspaper drawing a conclusion of the next five years like the last term for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina? Is it an attempt of psychologically making Sheikh Hasina weak? If so, then those columnists must note – Sheikh Hasina is not someone who would be feeling worried at the wrong speculations of any newspaper.

Awami League must remain in power:

One point Indian policymakers and media should remember – if BNP-Jamaat returns to power, even after five years, it will have more grudge on India than Sheikh Hasina. This Islamist nexus certainly will take revenge on India and most definitely will incite and patronize anti-India separatist and terrorist groups as part of its revenge. If Indian policymakers at all are concerned about their country’s sovereignty and security, they must ensure – Awami League remains in power for at least another 2-3 terms. By this time, BNP will be liberated from the evil clutches of Tareque Rahman in particular while Jamaat will be banned. Minus Tarique Rahman, Jamaat and radical Islamists, BNP may emerge as a suitable political force to return to power thus not posing any threat to India or any other country.

The writer is an anti-jihadist journalist, columnist, author & peace activist and Publisher & Editor of Blitz

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