Why Sheikh Hasina should come to power once again?

Published : 16 Jun 2021 08:50 PM | Updated : 17 Jun 2021 12:20 PM

Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,  has been running the state affairs for 12 and half years continuously. Undoubtedly the period of governance is a long one. Some people think that there should be a change in governance. But the outstanding performance of Sheikh Hasina in terms of running the government suggests that she should be in power till she is physically capable. The way she is governing the country is just splendid. 

Her efforts to change the lives of poor people is commendable. Her government has provided shelter to the homeless people. Her government has undertaken lot of projects including mega projects and programmes to turn Bangladesh into a developed country by 2041. Bangladesh has now been in the mid-stage of development. It is no longer a Least Developed Country. 

The United Nations Committee for Development Policy (CPD) has recommended graduation of Bangladesh from the category of LDC as it fulfilled the eligibility criteria in terms of per capita income, human assets and economic and environmental vulnerability.

Sheikh Hasina took charge of governance in 1996. Her government inherited legacy of Zia, Khaleda and Ershad. These trio rulers made Bangladesh into pseudo-religious state like Pakistan. They took side of the religious bigots. Their political associates were rightist religious bigots who opposed War of Liberation. Some of them were made ministers in the cabinet and allowed to fly national flag in their houses and cars at a time when freedom fighters struggled on the street. They spread connection all over the country and attacked on the minorities and destroy their properties in a planned way. 

It was Begum Khaleda Zia who conspired to use Caretaker Government to keep her party in power but the strongest resistance was put by Sheikh Hasina and the Caretaker Government was compelled to give the election in December 2008. The result was that Sheikh Hasina came to power with absolute majority. Since then she has been ruling the country for three consecutive terms. Already 12 and half years have been elapsed of her governance. Her government is well equipped with absolute commitment to the people and the country at large. Those who think that over 12 years is  a pretty long time for a political party and there should be a change must acknowledge that the substitute is the opposition. They are so weak and non-committed that if there is any change now the country may witness disastrous situation. 

Sheikh Hasina’s opponent Begum Zia, the leader of the opposition is sentenced by court. She has been in jail for long time. But none in the opposition has been able to forge a movement due to organizational weakness. They also depend on Hasina’s grace for sending Khaleda Zia abroad. Her party men did nothing for her to release Khaleda Zia from jail.  They are doing politics with her illness. It is now clear that she is not really ill as to be sent in a foreign hospital. 

Rather the demand for sending her abroad was a technique to ensure her stay in London with her son Tarique Zia and hatch conspiracy against the government. Sheikh Hasina is kind enough to grant Khaleda Zia bail and live her in a palatial house despite the fact that both mother and son (Tarique) tried to kill Sheikh Hasina by grenade attack in 2004 in a public meeting at Bangabandhu Avenue. Sheikh Hasina narrowly escaped the attack. It was Begum Khaleda Zia who insulted Sheikh Hasina when she was the leader of the opposition and Begum Zia was in power. Sheikh Hasina do not believe in vengeance. 

Despite repeated attack by Begum Zia’s ruling alliance on Hasina’s life and Awami League stalwarts and activists she (Hasina) did not take retaliation after coming to power.  The long standing stay of Sheikh Hasina in power may agitate BNP and its alliance but the people of the country are highly satisfied with her glorious performance. So it is expected that she will win the next election as people are extending support and cooperation to her political strategy. 

All class of people—the rich and the poor are grateful to Sheikh Hasina because she loves them too much. She has been working just like her father to improve the living standard of common people. The Prime Minister has been tackling the corona pandemic very efficiently. She started vaccination at a time when many countries including some developed countries could not do the same. Her government pays in advance to Serum institute of India for getting one and half core jabs. But India failed to supply due to surge of coronavirus. They could not even implement mass vaccination programme. Sheikh Hasina has urged other countries to provide vaccines and sign deal with Russia and China to get vaccines. 

China has been providing 6 lakhs jabs as a gift.  Another 10 lakhs jabs are expected to come through Covax soon. Sheikh Hasina is taking all these initiatives to save the lives of people. Her government has been supplying food for the poor since lockdown started. She has given 9 lakhs tons of food out of 15 lakhs stockpiled in the warehouse without thinking about meeting future food crisis. 

Sheikh Hasina has confidence that she could meet the crisis if there is food shortage. She has been hailed by the people so much and received the title Desh Ratna. She has been working for the people ceaselessly to improve their living standard especially the poor, the farmers and the laborers.  No one except from Bangabandhu demonstrated so much feeling for the poor. 

When there is a crisis Sheikh Hasina comes out with all assistance for the people. She like her father loves the poor and the commoners so much. Desh Ratna Sheikh Hasina works 18 hours a day.  It was Sheikh Hasina who took decision of building Padma Bridge out of national resources after cancellation of loan by World Bank. It was a bold decision no doubt and the bridge is about to complete.  

Sheikh Hasina ruled for 17 years i.e., from 1996-2001 and 2009 to till now. Under her able leadership the country has become self-sufficient in food production.  Sheikh Hasina’s great success is that not a single person died of starvation during her tenure. She feeds her people in time of crisis. She is ready to take challenge to feed her people. 

This has been proved during lockdown when people could not go out for work. Like her father Bangabandhu she loves her people very much. Both her son Joy and daughter Putul have been brought up outside the country in her absence. She did not even wait for the children who took higher studies abroad. She led the movement against the autocratic regimes for establishing democracy and voting rights of the people. She like her father opines that death is no issue to her than service to the people.

Dr S A Malek is former political adviser to the Prime Minister and Member of Parliament, general secretary of Bangabandhu Parishad and columnist