The opposition leaders including Mirza Fakhrul, Mahamudur Rahman Manna and Tarique Rahman have long been criticizing the government using filthy and abusive language. Most of the charges that they bring against the government publicly are fabricated. They never talk about the economic development that Bangladesh has achieved over the last twelve years under the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. They do not talk about the increase in electricity generation capacity of about 25,000 MW and per capita income to $2227 and inflation below 5.2 percent. They never talk about the GDP growth which was 8.2 percent before the pandemic. Even during the pandemic Bangladesh has witnessed positive growth of 5.2 percent. The opposition never looks at Bangladesh’s remarkable position in garment exports, fish production and vegetables production. Bangladesh has launched its own satellite in space. Bangladesh is far advanced in health, education, poverty alleviation and women empowerment.
The rate of literacy increased to above 74 percent. The life expectancy is now 72 years. Child and maternal mortality have reduced significantly. The foreign exchange reserve stands at 45 billion US dollars. Sheikh Hasina has been conferred 39 awards by the international community for her outstanding contribution to different fields.
The opposition never talks about the progress of implementation of the mega projects like Padma Bridge, Karnafuli Tunnel, Metro Rail, elevated expressway, Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant. They never talk about the economic zones. Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) has already given approval of 97 of the 100 economic zones. What Sheikh Hasina’s government have done in 12 years they could not do in 21 years rule since the killing of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975. The opposition does not recognize the survey conducted by the international organizations about Bangladesh’s rapid economic development. The country’s current global ranking of the Gross Domestic Product is 42nd and it is set to become 26th largest economy in the world by 2030 as per the projection. The global survey conducted by HSBC under a title: `The World in 2030’ reveals that the position of Bangladesh in the global economy would be 26th from the present 42nd. The report contains long-term projection for the current 75 economies of the world. In fact, Bangladesh will be a rich country within the next two decades if Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina can work for the people. By all cannons of development, Bangladesh is now a role model of development. But unfortunately the opposition does not see the development.
No previous government except that of Bangabandhu did endorse so much pro-people programmes, especially for the poor people. The decision to provide shelter to the shelter less people and rice at taka 10 per kg at a time when it is being sold at Taka 50 per kg and implement 123 social safety programmes worth over Taka 95,000 crore is really a unique programme for the poor people.
The opposition never talks about the political stability prevailing during the last 12 years. What they say is blatant lies and tantamount to travesty of truth. People do not believe them as they fail to play constructive role as opposition in politics. Sometimes they are participating in the elections and sometimes not. They participated in the election to the Municipal Corporation, but boycotted during near completion of voting at 3pm sensing defeat of their candidates. They are refraining from participating in the by-election to the vacant constituency although they did participate in the last general election and got defeated. These acts are nothing but mockery and the people could easily understand it. Their only aim is to destabilize the country. Since BNP ruled without an ideology it could not contribute anything to the welfare of the mass. But Awami League initiated various development schemes and relentlessly worked to complete them. BNP had no such planning. They ruled the country for the sake of power. They had nothing to contribute to the people. Hitherto BNP is involved in finding out faults of the government. They have no pro-people political programme. They are hatching conspiracy to tarnish the image of the government and the country. There was no development, no increase of GDP and per capita income during the tenure of BNP-led government. No major projects were undertaken to improve the socio-economic condition of the people. General Zia is the person who changed the nationality i.e., Bengali to Bangladeshi in an unconstitutional way. By doing this he changed the basic identity of the Bengalis.
The BNP has been playing the role of the opposition for 12 years. It was in power for the 3rd time in 2001. The party ruled from 2001 to 2006, the worst period in Bangladesh's history. Immediately after coming to power they resorted to repress Awami League leaders and workers. The way they intimidated and killed Awami League leaders and activists and minority communities was just unthinkable. No party in power could do such cruelty against the opposition. Thousands of Awami league activists and members of the Hindu community were driven out of the country and they had to remain outside the country for long time. The way Begum Zia and her anti-liberation colleagues attempted to kill leader of the opposition Sheikh Hasina on 21 August 2004 at a rally of Awami League in front of Awami League central office at Bangabandhu Avenue was horrible. How could she imagine staying in power after launching a grenade attack with a view to eliminating Awami League leaders? Attempts were made to kill Sheikh Hasina at least 20 times, but she narrowly escaped.
Bangladesh is advancing so rapidly under the dynamic leadership of Sheikh Hasina that by 2041 the country will be a developed one. Sheikh Hasina should rule the country. She has served the country for 12 years with brilliant success. Most of the people in the country want Sheikh Hasina to remain in power in future.
Dr S A Malek is the former Political Adviser to the Prime Minister, Member of Parliament, Secretary General of Bangabandhu Parishad and Columnist.