Failing to tackle the forward march of the government, the defeated forces of 1971 have now taken the strategy of disrupting the essential commodity market across the country. They believe that if the masses, who live on a tight budget, are made to suffer on a daily basis through escalating prices of essential commodities, they will take to the streets in protest and take a stance against the government in power. And as such it would become easy for the defeated forces to reach their goal.
The recent drama that is being staged with onion prices is enough example to drive home the argument. The hoarders stocked up tons of onion in their warehouses and created an artificial crisis in a bid to raise prices. It needs no emphasizing that if prices jump from Tk 30 to Tk.200 and beyond, people from all walks of life will suffer.
It was a disgusting sight to find rotting onion sacks dumped on the banks of rivers and on roadside waste bins when people stood in queue to buy half a kilo of onion. It only proved how heartless traders can become to make an extra million.
The surprising part of the story is that no amount of threat or pleading from any quarters had little impact of the importers and hoarders.
One investigative report in the media says that the major players in this dirty game with onion belong to some opposition political parties. Therefore, it has been surmised by experts that the crisis was created artificially since tons of onion have been discovered in their warehouses.
The anti government players also play with vegetable prices and now they have turned their attention towards rice. They know any meal of the Bangalees remains incomplete without a bowl of steamed rice. Therefore, they believe that if they can manipulate and increase the price beyond the buying capacity of the common people they will be able to score a point. Their objective is to hurt the people deep enough to bring them under their banner.
On many occasions, political forces had attempted
to use the food weapon to make the incumbents unpopular.
But, the pragmatic policies of the present government
work as shields to protect the people from the evil
designs of the opposition. They stand like a rock behind
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina without
giving any condition. As long as the people
are on her side Sheikh Hasina
will have none to fear
Earlier, they had manipulated prices of fertilizer and other essential commodities. It also reminds us of their dirty game with the prices of baby milk soon after the liberation of the country. These unscrupulous elements had stocked up milk powder in their warehouses and created a severe crisis in the market. To counter the evil design, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman ordered the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) to import powdered milk in large quantities and supply to the markets. The then government also successfully handled artificial crisis created in the rice and cooking oil markets.
Taking the kitchen markets under the control is an old ploy of the opposition political camps. People’s stomach is the soft target which they want to hit, and they do not care whether they are hitting below the belt or above.
Through creating artificial crisis the opposition sheds crocodile’s tears and tries to convey the message that if they come to power they would lower prices of essential commodities. If we look at the Bolshevik uprising and the French Revolution, we can see that food crisis was the decisive factor for the people to take up arms against the ruling monarchy.
But, in Bangladesh, in post liberation period, the food crisis was created artificially by the defeated forces to incite rebellion in the people. But the opposition was wrong in their calculation that time. The love for Bangabandhu in the liberated country had reached the sky so people did not fall into the trap. They vowed to eat only two times a day to help Bangabandhu build his golden Bengal.
Since then, on many occasions, political forces had attempted to use the food weapon to make the incumbents unpopular. But, the pragmatic policies of the present government work as shields to protect the people from the evil designs of the opposition. They stand like a rock behind Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina without giving any condition. As long as the people are on her
side Sheikh Hasina will have none to fear.
The problem for the combined opposition is that the world leaders have also started to appreciate her policies and giving her full cooperation in her nation building endeavors.
Shahnoor Wahid is Advisory Editor of Bangladesh Post