Is Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina winning hearts of some of the leaders and activists of her arch rival BNP? A surprising comment by none other than a former BNP lawmaker Maj (retd) Akhtaruzzaman may prove that this seems to be the case.
In our present political culture when opposition men are in the habit of finding faults in whatever the government does, let alone praising it for anything, the BNP leader unequivocally claimed that “Sheikh Hasina’s tenure is better than brining the present BNP to power”!Apart from pointing to any disappointing performance of the incumbent, giving credit where it is due is the job of the opposition. To that extent Akhtaruzzaman’s position is unassailable. We may even agree with him that there is no alternative to Hasina government at this moment. We hold no brief for any particular political party but would want democratic culture to be strengthened, where tolerance and mutual respect prevail.
Any impartial observer will agree that the Hasina government has a plethora of remarkable successes that include managing Covid-19 and the economy during the pandemic, increasing agricultural production, implementing over a dozen mega projects, digitising government services, curbing corruption etc. Under her leadership, the country has transformed from a least developed country to a developing one, achieved GDP growth at over 7% and attained electricity generation capacity of around 20,000 megawatts up from 4,942 MW in 2009. Besides, Bangladesh also helped tackle a looming genocide of the Rohingyas in Myanmar. Overall, internationally Bangladesh is now acclaimed as the new rising star in South Asia. All these positive achievements have benefited the nation and the people immensely, and the opposition is expected to help consolidate it.
The BNP leader also pointed out the shortcomings of his party saying that it fell out of sync with the people as it didn’t take a stand over any of the current major issues. He rightly sensed that lack of moral authority of BNP leadership due to its two previous tenures tainted by corruption is the reason why the party cannot take a tough stance against various anomalies of the present government. So, BNP would do well to keep the political atmosphere calm and conducive to economic development, while strengthening the party organisationally.