Both the government and opposition political parties are supposed to stand by the people during any national disaster.
But the country’s opposition parties, including Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its allies in two coalitions -- Jatiya Oikya Front and 20-party alliance -- are paying only lip service although thousands of people have been hit hard by the second wave of coronavirus.Instead of extending help to the people in need whose woes worsened amid the ongoing lockdown, the opposition parties are blaming the government by raising questions one after another about its aid services and treatment facilities for Covid-19 patients in a bid to gain political mileage.
A number of poor and helpless people as well as leaders and activists of the opposition political parties, including BNP, have been passing a miserable life amid the countrywide lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus transmission.
Though the BNP leaders, including its Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, have frequently been accusing the government of not providing adequate relief for the helpless people, the opposition party itself is not standing by them.
BNP and its front and associate bodies, however, had distributed some food items and safety equipment among people last year.
But no visible activity of standing by the country’s people with food or safety equipment has yet been seen by the opposition party during the 2nd wave of coronavirus.
“We’re opposition political party. We’re not financially solvent as businesses of our men have been destroyed during the current regime. But we’ve taken initiative to provide aid for people. It’s now taking time to arrange necessary things to stand by the people with our capacity,” BNP Standing Committee member Iqbal Hassan Mahmud Tuku told the Daily Sun.Talking to the Daily Sun, some people in Dhaka and outside the capital said the opposition parties should stand by thousands of helpless and destitute people hit by the coronavirus pandemic as well as the lockdown and they should concentrate more on ensuring better services to the people so that the nation can overcome the crisis.
Insiders from different opposition parties, including BNP, said a number of leaders of different parties are rich and many of their supporters are also big businessmen and industrialists.
But they are neither standing by the helpless and destitute people nor extending assistance for the treatment of Covid-19 patients as the parties and its leaders are not actually much interested to spend money for the helpless people for staying away from power for long.
Some candidates, who contested the last parliamentary polls and different local government units, including upazila parishad and municipality, said they are not much interested to spend money for providing assistance for the people as they have been defeated in the elections and do not see any hope in future.
“There’re a number of rich leaders in BNP but now they’re staying inside home and they are not contacting even their poor leaders and activists across the country during this crisis situation least they need to spend money for the needy party men,” said a district level BNP leader from Pabna.
In the capital, mayoral candidate in the last Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) election Ishraque Hossain was seen giving some aid to the party men but other leaders remain almost silent.
A large number of party leaders and activists across the country have been suffering due the coronavirus pandemic but they did not get any support from the party.
Many party leaders and activists are either on the run to escape arrest or in prison, and their family members are also passing a difficult time.
Not only BNP, its allies in the 20-party alliance, including Jatiya Party (Kazi Zafar) and Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and allies in Jatiya Oikya Front like Gono Forum, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) and Nagorik Oikya are also not seen standing by the people with aid during this national disaster.
Meanwhile, main opposition in parliament Jatiya Party has also not come up with aid for the people and its helpless and poor leaders and activists. It, however, had distributed some aid and safety equipment last year.
Some leaders and activists of the party said a number of Jatiya Party leaders and activists in different districts have been passing a miserable life during this Covid-19 pandemic but they did not get any aid from the party yet.
Talking to the Daily Sun, Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu, secretary general of Jatiya Party, said, “As per our capacity, we’re standing by the people. However, we can’t conduct our activities due to the countrywide lockdown.”
Talking to the Daily Sun, Sharif Jamil, general secretary of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), said, “Opposition parties should stand by the government to ensure proper support to all the helpless people of the country during this coronavirus crisis.”
Awami League (AL) General Secretary Obaidul Quader on Wednesday urged BNP to extend a helping hand to distressed people instead of paying only lip service.
According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Bangladesh has so far reported over 7.35 lakh coronavirus infections and 10,700 deaths since the pandemic.
First three coronavirus cases were reported on March 8 last year while the first death was recorded 10 days later.
Both deaths and infections from coronavirus started to decline from the first week of July last year and the fall continued till the first week of March this year.
However, the numbers started to rise from March 10.