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BNP’s grudge against Padma Bridge draws public anger

Published : 30 Jun 2022 10:21 PM | Updated : 30 Jun 2022 10:35 PM

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has been mocked massively on social media for questioning the quality of Padma Bridge construction based on one TikTok video of a youth. 

Police arrested Bayezid Talha for violating laws by removing a pair of nuts from bolts of the bridge’s railing and posted the video in TikTok, showing a gesture that the Padma Bridge, which is regarded as an engineering marvel in the world, was not that much quality in terms of construction.

The opposition party BNP designed a sticker with the photo of the TikToker and posted it on its verified Facebook page and wrote: “A faulty bridge has been constructed by spending Tk30000,38,76,000! Nuts and bolts are coming off on the first day.”

However, this post stoked a barrage of criticism on social media with many bringing up BNP’s past track record when the party chief, Khaleda Zia, called the move by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to build the bridge with self-funding as a pipe dream.

In 2012, Sheikh Hasina announced to construct the bridge through self-financing after the World Bank refused to fund the project on corruption charges that a Canadian court found anchored on flimsy evidence back in 2017.

However, amid the flip flop of the global lending agency, Sheikh Hasina went ahead with the bridge that now emerged as a lifeline for the entire southern region. The entire-world showered her with praise when she inaugurated the bridge on June 25. Over Tk21 million toll was collected on the first day from vehicles using the bridge that linked the 21 southwest districts with the rest of the country.

Reminding BNP about the long spell of lies it peddled following WB’s withdrawal journalist Gazi Nasiruddin wrote on his Facebook “with this new attempt it is safe to say BNP faced a major blow on the political front for ceaseless smears of corruption centering the bridge.”

“This new turn of lies will further put the credibility of the party in peril and it seems BNP is intent on setting itself back as much as possible”, he wrote.

 The World Bank also congratulated Bangladesh on the completion of the bridge with its representative attending the inauguration by Sheikh Hasina on June 25.

 In reference to a February 2, 2018 statement from BNP’s party chief Begum Zia where she called this bridge a pipe dream, another senior journalist Provash Amin questioned “with this post (TikToker photo) BNP intends to prove Khaleda’s pipe dream remark right ..

 “However, people paid no heed…. in thousands raced to have a glimpse of that bridge of dreams….” his post further added.

 Some youths were seen going live on Facebook from the bridge asking for a boycott of the BNP-Jamaat alliance for the betterment of the country.

 Meanwhile, police have arrested two youths for hurting public sentiment with false information on the bridge.

 With the opening of the bridge, hundreds of thousands of people have been rushing to get a glimpse of this bridge over the mighty river.

 Elated over the remarkable reduction in travel time to reach Dhaka, many southerners unanimously acknowledged PM Sheikh Hasina’s determination to make the dream of this bridge a reality.

 Reacting to the post by BNP, Awami League’s verified Facebook account also made a post.

 In reference to ceaseless smears unleashed by BNP in the past on the bridge project, it reads “this latest attempt vindicates the cyber team of the party also bent on establishing conspiracy narratives that its chief Begum Zia started”.

 Meanwhile, Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud (June 26, 2022) said India, the US and even Pakistan extended greetings to the government as Bangladesh opened the biggest self-financed Padma Bridge, yet BNP could not.

 "Though all Bangladeshis at home and abroad are happy at the Padma Bridge opening, BNP leaders couldn't be happy… This indicates that they hatched a conspiracy against Padma Bridge," he said.