Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Confidence in essential while over-confidence in suicidal! Awami League, ruling party in Bangladesh, despite the fact of its lack of enjoying support of the popular masses, very unfortunately is over-confident of winning a third consecutive term. To them, victory in the upcoming general election is as simple as drinking a cup of water. Most of the front ranking leaders of Awami League, especially its general secretary Obaidul Quader and Health Minister Mohammed Nasim are publicly exhibiting their joyous excitement symbolizing a celebration much before they have got it in real. Some of the key figures even are publicly proclaiming of getting 167-220 seats quoting some surveys conducted by foreign organizations. All of us know how those surveys are done by the foreign entities. It’s all in exchange of money – hefty amount of money. But, such surveys can only help the ruling elites in fantasizing until the election. It won’t at all help in either changing the voter’s mindset or the possible consequences of these leaders.
Let’s not forget those crazy pollster forecasts prior to the US presidential election in 2016. The entire bunch of it were portraying Hillary Clinton as the winner, while Ms. Clinton, being greatly warmed-up by these forecasts were fantasizing of being the “first female president” of the United States. Her over confidence reached such an height that she even was enjoying fake orgasm of victory by dancing on the dais with celebrities from around America. Hillary Clinton or none of her campaign comrades had ever realized – their over confidence would soon turn into bitterest nightmare.
In Bangladesh, more precisely with Awami League, the same thing of being over confident had happened in 1991, when its leaders were over-excited of their “massive win”. They even had finalized the list of cabinet members. Instead of focusing into the election, they were eagerly and impatiently waiting for the hour of pronouncement of their victory. But the people had something else in their minds. On the Election Day, they had voted in favour of the political rival of Awami League thus turning Awami League from the virtual winner to a loser in reality. But it seems, Awami League did not take any lesson from the past.
This is for the first time; Awami League is enthusiastic of a victory when the ground realities are totally against them. On the Election Day, people may not vote for Awami League. In that case, how Awami League can ensure a third consecutive term? Through rigging or election engineering? Or by keeping voters away from going to the poll centers? This actually is the only possible way for the ruling party. But, most possibly, this desire may finally fall flat. Rigged or engineered election in 2018 would be a mission impossible. It would only invite an unimaginable catastrophe for Awami League and its coalition partners. It is true; Awami League has its loyal administration till date. They even are enjoying due and undue support from the law enforcing agencies. But, what they do not have are – people’s support and support from the international community. Moreover, series of attacks on the political opponents and opposition candidates in different parts of Bangladesh are in reality making people much angry, if not hateful to the ruling elites.
India has visibly distanced itself from Awami League – at least when it comes to the upcoming General Election. China, which had strongly stood in support of the ruling party during the 2014 questioned election, had already signaled of not repeating the same. Russia – a great ally of Awami League had never been a factor in Bangladesh politics. Two more allies of the ruling party – Iran and Turkey can do nothing. World’s only superpower United States has not yet extended support to Awami League. Instead, there are signals from the United States of Washington’s support going in favour of the political opponents of the ruling party in Bangladesh. The US Congress on December 12, 2018 has passed a resolution (House Resolution-1169) putting emphasis on holding of a free and fair election. Bangladesh though has a past record of ignoring such resolution of the United States Congress, this time; the previous ignorance will just stand as another example of Bangladesh’s tendency of undermining the American policymakers – more precisely the representatives of the American people. The House Resolution 1169 is a huge blow to leaders of the ruling party, who had been indulged into the fantasy of winning a third consecutive term, because, if the election is held in free and fair manner, Awami League’s political rival, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) will get more than 200 seats. These are not my wild speculations. Instead, it is based on solid surveys – not those fake surveys conducted by some hired clowns.
In the recent weeks, one significant point may have missed the attention of many. While a section of Awami League leaders are openly pronouncing of winning another brute majority in the parliament and ensure their third consecutive term, most of the pro-Awami League journalists and media establishments are already trying to maintain a kind of distance from any pro-ruling party media coverage. They are greatly shy, if not afraid of even publishing anything when it is about Pakistani spy agency’s active bids in helping BNP-Jamaat nexus return to power. Even Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s media adviser’s English daily and his television channel are now trying to clearly prove to be a “neutral media” or even anti-Awami League media. Lots of journalists and editors, who had enjoyed and availed huge favours and opportunities during the past ten year’s of Awami League rule and had turned into billionaires too are suddenly seen uninterested in Awami League or at least trying to hide their appearances to the people as pro-ruling party. All of them are in the mode of “image cleaning”. Well, this is the ultimate face of the sycophants, opportunists and ungrateful people. But, these are the people who had been the most beneficiaries of the 10-year-long Awami League rule. The reason behind their sudden shift in mind is understandable. They too are realizing – it would be almost a mission impossible for the ruling party in getting a third consecutive term.
Though I had always considered Awami League as a sharp and intelligence political party, with all my apologies, I must say now, they are proving me wrong. Awami League has been greatly depending on India in helping it in winning a consecutive third term. When India turned it face back from Awami League, the ruling party started counting on the favour of the law enforcing agencies and the Election Commission. For past ten years, very unfortunately, Awami League has been ruthlessly engaged in America bashing. Their attitude and behavior had been almost clone-copy of the Iranian mullahs. The ruling party in Bangladesh did not realize – America is the only superpower in the world. No nation is even nearer to the United States – militarily or otherwise.
And the greatest blunder Awami League has committed just weeks before the General Election is – voting against a bill in the United Nations. By voting against this bill, Bangladesh has officially made an evidence of standing in favour of Hamas – a mega terrorist outfit. While Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is known for her commitment in combating militancy, which would be a key point for her in attaining the support of the US, the recent ‘no’ vote in the United Nations has already put deep cloud of doubts on Bangladesh’s very intention of fighting militancy. We have unfortunately, enrolled ourselves as a nation appeasing – if not defending militancy. Those who were behind the decision of casting ‘no’ vote in the UN against the bill introduced by the US, had in reality stabbed the ruling party in Bangladesh from the back. This is not a diplomatic blunder. Instead, it is a diplomatic suicide.
As this write up goes into press, there is exactly fifteen days left for the next General Election. I can only hope, Awami League leaders will stop from fantasizing about their “easy victory” and take some immediate steps. They must act fast, as ever second now is crucial for them. If they fail to secure the support from the United States, they will pay a heavy price during the election.
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is the editor of Blitz