Time for AL-led govt to make a course correction
The Awami League formed its government this day four years ago amidst enormous hopes and aspirations of people at large for a fresh political beginning aimed at social peace and economic prosperity. It was expected to be a fresh beginning because the Awami League and its partners installed an elected government after two years of unconstitutional rule by a military-driven government that created havoc on politicians across the divide. Besides, before the elections that took the Awami League to power, the party had made golden pledges to electorates, ranging from removing traffic congestion to producing electricity to ending extrajudicial murders, controlling increase in goods prices to containing high-profile corruption, improving law and order to introducing a culture of tolerance to democratic dissent, ensuring media freedom to ending politicisation of the administration on a partisan line, so on and so forth. However, after the announcement of the cabinet, compost of politicians of no national stature, many got sceptic about its capability to deliver even if the policies were all right.
Four years after the installation of the government, one has no scope to say that the government has delivered what the governing coalition had promised to people. Traffic congestion is very much there, law and order has deteriorated on many grounds, extrajudicial murders by law enforcement agencies continues, prices of essential goods have increased, democratic space for the opposition has shrunk, politicisation of the administration on a partisan line has reached its climax, educational institutions have witnessed a reign of terror by the student organisation of the governing party and extortion has become the order of the day while frequent attempts at controlling the media have been made. Besides, high-profile corruption has paralysed the capital market and the banking sector — not to mention that spending millions from the public exchequer on the private sector rental and quick rental plants for power generation remains the economic crime of the century. Moreover, the unilateral repeal of the constitutional provision for conducting general elections under a non-party, neutral administration has created a fresh stream of confrontational politics now poised to further destabilise society and the economy.
Besides, four years after the installation of the government, Bangladesh has now ranked 77th among 80 countries as the place to be born in 2013 with the best quality of life while the capital Dhaka ranked the lowest among liveable places among 140 cities of the world. This is not the state of affairs that people had voted the Awami League and its allies to power, particularly vis-a-vis the misrule of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party. What is, however, most disappointing is the fact that the governing party, instead of admitting to its enormous failures, continues to claim that it has made pervasive developments in all fields of social political and economic life of the citizens. For the sake of doing justice to the common sense of people at large and the betterment of the governing party, the top leadership should take a pause, and make a course correction for the last year in power.
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