BNP leader Amanullah Aman, in a discussion meeting organised by Jatiyatabadi Ulema Dal at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity a few days ago, has said that Bangladesh would be administered under the leadership of Khaleda Zia and Tareq Rahman after December 10. Apart from this, as he added, the country will not run on anyone's instructions. Another leader, Shahid Uddin Chowdhury, echoed the same sound of Aman’s. He demanded that the parliament should be dissolved by December 10 and then the country would be run under the leadership of Khaleda Zia. They will not make any concessions in this regard, they have cleared that.
We, the general citizens of this country, can only guess from their statements that at some suitable moment after December 10 (if comes), BNP is going to take over the responsibility of running the country at the top of which (as it seems) Begum Zia will be placed as the President and her worthy(?) son Tareq Rahman as the Prime Minister. Since the country is supposed to be run under their directions, they must have to occupy these two top positions. How easily the BNP leaders have prescribed such an innovative system of government! No elections would be required and there would be no obligation of people's vote, but a unique way to directly taking responsibility of the country. At least, these BNP leaders should be appreciated for adding this new formula to democracy. Sorry, it might be a mistake to call it a new formula. Because, after seizing the power of the state in the same way, their party was born.
In this context, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul, however, has said that there are speeches only for politics and Mr. Aman's speech was one of those. However, they are currently trying to form a grand political alliance and only time will tell what will happen in the coming days. On the other hand, Amir Khasru Mahmud said, movement does not start by fixing time and date. He said that their movement will continue until the government falls. Another leader of BNP, Abdul Awal Mintu indicated that they will introduce a new process in their politics from December 10 and through that process, they will open the final chapter of the fall of the government.
Then, on October 12, Mirza Fakhrul, at a function organized in Chattogram as a part of the BNP's scheduled rallies at the divisional level, has said that the main goal of these public gatherings is to force the current government to resign and to hold elections under a non-partisan interim government. He warned the present government about the incoming danger and asked them to depart safely; otherwise they will not find any path to escape. People all over the country have responded to their call. They will force the Prime Minister to leave her chair. It must be said that Mirza Fakhrul has the guts to say so. It is not easy to threaten a government elected by the people of the country in this way. But it could have been better if he did not talk about running away of the present government. Because the people of Bangladesh have not yet forgotten that the commander-in-chief of their party has fled long ago. Who is now pulling their strings from the behind? Upon whose assurance they are so much excited? People love to dream, there is nothing wrong to dream. But there is a big difference between dream and reality. They have to realize the reality; only walking along the path of democracy, they might have the fruits. There is no point in trying to fool people unnecessarily. The people of this country understand well what is good and what is bad for them.
The BNP has announced to hold a grand rally in Dhaka on December 10 after finishing all their rallies in other big cities. They must talk to the people, nobody can obstruct. But it is necessary to ensure that common people do not face any difficulty for their political activities. Because if there is anarchy, the country's law and order forces will definitely not sit back, they will come forward to rescue the people. Will the policemen remain indifferent to their fear? If police remain silent, the sufferings of common people will not end. Will we then pass our days unprotected? Some leaders of BNP have already ordered their activists to prepare the list of policemen performing their duties not favourable to them. Once they come to power after December 10, those policemen will have to lose their jobs, as they have indicated.
A BNP leader, who did not want to be named, mentioned that their aim is to create pressure on the government through these rallies so that they can bring Khaleda Zia to the rally in Dhaka. Can a convicted person do that (though government was so sympathetic to allow her to stay at home)? Do they think there is no law in the country? We can find political leaders serving prison terms for corruption in a number of countries, like Begum Zia. The former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Tun Rezak (whose father was the second Prime Minister of Malaysia), is currently in jail for corruption. Political parties of those countries respect laws of the soil, not behave like BNP.
According to a report, another purpose of these rallies of BNP is to bring the leaders and workers to the street as a showdown of their strength. This can happen in politics. It is necessary to see how much support or trust the people have towards the party. Each political party should follow this in a disciplined way. The greater is the support of the people, the greater the influence of that party in country's politics. It instils hope in the party to win the elections. However, it cannot be a tool to create any nuisance in the democratic practices of others while doing such showdown. You can't do whatever you want at will. Observing political programmes peacefully is acceptable to all.
Meanwhile, a couple of Awami League leaders criticized Mr. Aman's speech. They also indicated the idea of cancelling the on-going facilities provided to Begum Zia and sending her to prison. We know that Begum Zia's health is not going well. BNP wants to bring her to the rallies and Awami League wants to send her to jail. As human beings, we don't think it would be right for either side to put her in such a hassle. It would be good for Begum Zia's health not to pulling her unnecessarily.
Before conclusion, I would like to mention Mirza Fakhrul's statement of October 13, where he said that the dream of the present government coming back to power again will soon turn to dust with the collective power of the people. As the people of the country have seen the rule of Hawa Bhaban, they are also seeing the rule of Awami League. They know very well that which party gives the country and its people more comfort, better livelihood. They are also aware of which party led the country to its present position in the world. They also have the experience in which party’s hands they are safe. So, no matter how big sound they are making in the air, the people will recognize the right people and give them the responsibility of running the country. People will not allow anyone play with them.
The people of Bangladesh strongly believe that election is the only way to power. The election is ahead. All political parties including BNP should try to get people's mandate by participating in the elections. Please focus on that and that will be the real politics. And if any party fails there, no matter how their speeches may sound, it does not seem to be of any use. Leaders must remember that the verdict of the people will determine who will turn into dust or flee the country, and who will stand firm as steel beside the people.
The writer is a former Ambassador and Secretary