STILL NO PEOPLE IN KHALEDA’S MOVEMENT?
In this historic month, last Tuesday (March 9) Bangladesh cricketers made history in Adelaide, Down Under. On this finest day in the nation’s cricket history the boys, led by a spirited skipper Mashrafee-bin-Mortaza, sent England, where the game of cricket was born, packing home to storm into the quarter-finals of the World Cup. Having restricted Bangladesh to 275 for 7, England failed to take the challenge as it got dismissed for 260 to suffer a 15-defeat enough to go home early. It was Bangladesh’s second World Cup victory against England, which belongs to the elite club of the game.
The win, immediately hailed by President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, sent tens of thousands of jubilant crowds into the streets across the country chanting, “Bangladesh”, “Bangladesh” and “Joy Bangla.” Similar jubilation had been reported from across Australia and New Zealand, the co-hosts of this year’s World Cup, the greatest festival of the game. Bangladesh is now placed at number 3 in the points list in Pool A, just behind New Zealand and Australia and above Sri Lanka, the four teams that have qualified to get a berth among the last eight teams of the tournament, from where the real battle for the trophy will begin.
The brilliant performance of Bangladesh cricketers this World Cup should be wide enough to eclipse the destructive politics BNP-Jamaat alliance is pursuing at home. The latest World Cup victory against England on the back of even a better performance against Scotland, came at a time when BNP leader Khaleda Zia has been waging a campaign of non-performing blockade and hartal (general strike) for over two months in a bid to force Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to yield to her rather illogical demand that the parliament, elected in January last year, be dissolved so a new legislature can be elected in a vote overseen by a team of unelected individuals. Khaleda unsuccessfully tried to halt the last election held on Jan. 5, 2014 after having boycotted the polls saying that Hasina will steal the vote if it is held under her government.
Neither she had taken part in the polls nor could she stop it even though the anti-election elements used gun powder to torn vehicles killing innocent people, murdered election officials and set election centres ablaze. By doing so, Khaleda suffered a double blow. Hasina returned to the Ganobhavan becoming the prime minister for the second consecutive term; Khaleda lost her status as an opposition leader in parliament. Hasina dealt more blows to her arch political rival by proving wrong the BNP leader’s assessment that either the masses or some other elements will take her side to oust Hasina’s new government. Khaleda was thus left with no choice but to wait for the next election.
She waited, but not for long enough. On the first anniversary of the Jan. 5 election Khaleda launched a rather loosely coordinated movement which has now entered into its third month in a row. Unfortunately, her ill-managed tactic (or rather her lack of political flexibility) has taken her nowhere but to defend a government counter attack that she and her supporters are responsible for the barbaric petrol bomb attacks on packed buses and other vehicles that saw the deaths of about 120 people in past two months. Sheikh Hasina may not be right on all occasions but Khaleda has little to defend her when the prime minister accuses her of directing the bloody campaign during which ordinary citizens having no political links whatsoever had been killed in petrol bombs rather than in any police firing. Khaleda is truly at a loss and no one else but she and her aides is to be blamed for it.
What Khaleda Zia has been doing is nothing but trying to driving train through a muddy field. She has failed to understand that her anti-Hasina campaign lacks the essential element of any mass movement: the people’s participation. She is trying to stage the play Hamlet without the prince of Denmark.
MARCH 12, 2015