Tarun Kanti Nag from Kolkata
Bangladesh is at a crossroad where the people of the country has to decide, if they want to enjoy the fruits of development and economic growth under the magnanimous leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina or embrace the fate of a failed state by bringing Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and anti-liberation force Jamaat e Islami into power. During past ten years, Sheikh Hasina has brilliantly transformed a developing Bangladesh into the status of a Middle-income-nation and it is well expected that by next five years, the country will enter into the club of higher-income-nations. Throughout the country, huge infrastructural development works are visible, while the government is successfully implementing the much-expected multi-billion-dollar Padma bridge project with its own resources.
Islamic militancy and terrorism had already been greatly contained due to tremendous contributions of the law enforcing and security agencies in Bangladesh. Without Sheikh Hasina in power, Bangladesh might have by now turned into another Syria or Iraq.
Despite such progresses and achievements, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina unfortunately faces some harsh criticism from the international media. Most surprisingly, a section of Indian media too have joined such wrong practices defying the fact, Sheikh Hasina is the only trusted friend of India and she has wholeheartedly extended every possible cooperation to India.
There are orchestrated media assaults on Sheikh Hasina for past few years. Such assaults have greatly intensified in the recent weeks, possibly with the agenda of misleading the international community.
On December 21, 2018, a website named East Asia Forum has published an article by Mr. Ali Riaz, Professor at the Department of Politics and Government, Illinois State University in the United States. In this article, Mr. Ali Riaz wrote, “Since the ruling Bangladesh Awami League (BAL) secured its second term through a controversial election boycotted by the opposition in 2014, the country has gradually slid towards authoritarianism. The Bertelsmann Foundation categorised the country as an autocracy in its 2018 report.”
It is not surprising that the author has referred to a report from a mere unknown organization like Bertelsmann Foundation. What he has not mentioned is, such reports are just result of multi-million-dollar lobbying efforts of BNP and Jamaat.
Commenting on the upcoming general election, he wrote, “Until recently the international community seemed to have been preparing for a repeat of the 2014 election. But the founding of the Jatiya Oikya Front has provided an impression that there is now a formidable opposition. Could this lead to repercussions if the election is a staged show?”
Here Mr. Ali Riaz is trying to instigate the international community in putting undue pressure on Bangladesh. All of us know, the 2014 general election was boycotted by BNP and Jamaat because of the fact they were sure of being rejected by the voters for their direct affiliations with the Islamic militants and huge corruption during the BNP-Jamaat rule during 2001-2006. What Mr. Riaz did not mention is, it was Khaleda Zia and her government that has made wrong attempts of holding controversial one-sided elections in 1996 and in 2006. Moreover, why the international community should interfere into domestic affairs of Bangladesh? Controversy in elections are everywhere in the world. It happens in India and even it happens in the United States. No one in the world can ensure an election, which may not get some controversy as the losing side always makes frantic bids in painting the election as rigged or manipulated. We have seen how a loser Hillary Clinton had even gone with countrywide demonstration denouncing an elected president in that country.
The December 30 general election in Bangladesh is important for the people of that country to decide, if they want progress and prosperity or wants to end-up into the grips of radical Islamic parties like BNP and Jamaat. Indian people, press and the political forces should remain supportive to Sheikh Hasina and Awami League. There is no alternative to it.
Tarun Kanti Nag is a member of Rashtriya Swam Sevak Sangh
Disclaimer: Opinion expressed in this article is of the author and may not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of this newspaper.