BNP mayoral candidates – birds of a feather flock together
For BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, it’s like an epiphany – “The party had to pay so dearly for launching the failed movement to topple down the Sheikh Hasina-led government in 2014-15 that it could not cover that up even in the four to five years that followed.”
He reflected on the damage the party caused to itself. What he kept mum about was the damage they caused to Bangladesh and its people. Neither did he name the imbeciles who instigated all these devastations. He termed the movement “baseless”. What he didn’t say were the unspeakable sufferings they did inflict on the public life by launching the movement based on petrol bombs and other violent methods they orchestrated. They committed all these notorious crimes in association with the Jamaat-e-Islami, the party bearing the track record of collaborating with the Pakistani army of occupation in committing the crimes against humanity – genocide, rape, and looting – during the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh.
During the notorious tenure of Khaleda Zia, the Hawa Bhaban of her eldest son Tarique Rahman became the powerhouse of all corruption. That black chapter ended but they left no stone unturned to revive that chapter through their movement in 2014-15. The first three months of 2015 alone witnessed a loss in the country’s productivity worth Tk 50 billion, as revealed by the Centre for Policy Research. The failed movement also cost at least 138 lives. More than half of those killings are believed to have secretly ordered from London. The strategy of Tarique was simple – overthrowing the Hasina-led government by committing violence such as hurling petrol bombs and pushing the country back to the notorious regime of Pakistan. Mirza Fakhrul never issued a note of apology to the people for the failed movement they had launched because there was no such order of apology from London. Neither do they possess even a shred of regret for the mindless crimes they committed against the people! Regret is not something you might expect from the BNP.
There is no sign of gratefulness at the party either. Any democratic country in the world is supposed to snatch away the right to active politics from a party that killed people with petrol bombs and caused irreparable damage to the country’s economy. But, Hasina didn’t strip them of that right. Elections were held at two city corporations in Dhaka on Apr 28, 2015. The door was open for the BNP to contest in the election. But, black will take no other hue. Mirza Abbas won the party nomination to be the mayoral candidate at Dhaka South City Corporation. But, he was known to be the right hand of the politics of violence spearheaded by Tarique. On the other hand, Tabith Mohammed Awal, son of the tycoon Abdul Awal Mintoo, got the ticket in the North. The people do have the right to know who patronised the movement that Mirza Fakhrul after so many years acknowledged as failed.
Tabith has again become the mayoral candidate in Dhaka North with the elections slated for Feb 1. A golden feather was added to his crown before the election. He is accused of siphoning money out of the country. His father, mother and two brothers also secured honourable places in the documents known as the Paradise Papers – a list of cash smugglers. A student has to count Tk 5 million annually to study at the university he attended. Sometimes money can get one a degree.
On the other hand, their mayoral candidate in the South, Ishraque Hossain, has faced specific charges brought by the Anti-Corruption Commission. The party whose chairperson and acting chairperson can misappropriate the foreign fund to an orphanage must nominate the mayoral candidates of their standard. That is as clear as the daylight. So, diamond cuts diamond!
The last parliamentary polls were held on Dec 30, 2018 – just a little over a year ago. It was a golden chance for the BNP to come back to mainstream politics following its fall into the abyss resulting from its violent protests aimed to overthrow the government. Hasina, daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, gave them a second chance. But, the offer was like a pearl cast before a swine. One must have a great heart to accept the great offer and to have compassion for the people. That is not what the central leadership of the BNP is characterised by. The complaint came from inside the party that Tarique finalises each candidate from London. A handful of candidates are chosen from each constituency. Leaders of that constituency had no idea of who would be finally representing the election symbol “Sheaf of Paddy”. Even some candidates of the Jamaat, a party of war criminals shorn of the rights to participate in polls, were also allowed to compete in the election with the BNP’s symbol. BNP leaders and activists from different districts and Upazilas demonstrated before the party office, claiming that one can buy the party nomination with money in every constituency. All that matters is the sum of money, which, if greater than that paid by the previously announced candidate, can pave the path for the fresh candidate to get the ticket for the election.
Is the conjecture not further corroborated by the fact that a person born with a golden spoon and bearing the track record of smuggling money has got party nominations twice in a row? If that is true, then it is easy to understand who is going to have the cream. It takes a fortune to relish a life of luxury in London. More money is required to put the socio-economic advancement of Bangladesh into a halt and introduce politics of violence and conspiracy. That money has to come from the candidates who are willing to pay and they would be given tickets to compete in polls. Without disclosing identity, more than one leader of BNP said that the people of Dhaka North couldn’t get in touch with Tabith even for a single day following the last election. Then why should he be nominated again?
This decision of the BNP clarifies that it will serve no great cause to more than 20 million people under the two city corporations in Dhaka. People dream of a sophisticated and developed city and easy modes of transport. They want the city corporations to advance the progress of education and knowledge that Bangladesh is poised to achieve. To this goal, the Awami League nominated Annisul Huq for Dhaka North mayor in 2015. He got two years or a little more perhaps to serve the citizens. But, within this short period, he became the role model of a representative of the local government. Regardless of caste and creed, all of us say in unison that we want a mayor like him. In the North, Atiqul Islam hasn’t yet completed one year of his term as mayor. But, people are saying that they want a mayor like him. There are all the signs that he can be a mayor like Annisul. On the other hand, it is in the air that the BNP is always on the lookout for candidates capable of establishing the politics of violence and instability while the Awami League has tied the knot with the people’s welfare and development. One diamond has to cut the other.