Hasina basks in solid public support

Farid Hossain
Thursday, July 27th, 2017
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Bangladesh is making good progress in maintaining political stability, sustained economic and social development. The country is well on track to become a middle income economy as the annual GDP growth has gone beyond 7 per cent and the per capita income increasing quite impressively. The good showing in the economy, backed by political stability, has impacted on social benefits. The number of people living in extreme poverty has been decreasing steadily for the past few years, especially during the governance of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. More Bangladeshis are now getting social safety net benefits. The recipients are mainly extreme poor, destitute women who fall in the category of ‘have-nots.’ The nation’s strides in education, women empowerment and social justice have attracted international appreciation too. To the world Bangladesh is now seen as a role model of development.

 

Even though some critics tend to highlight some low points, which are not too many I should say, Bangladesh’s overall going is getting impressive. For example, in recent weeks a part of the media has spoken about an unexpected increase in the prices of food grains. But as Food Minister Quamrul Islam has said in unequivocal term that there is no shortage of food and there won’t be in future. “We are in good shape with regard to our food stock. What we are trying our best is to ensure that growers get fair price of their produces,” the minister said. With food security becoming no problem for the country the rest gets easier to deal with. Considering the cost of production and the need for farmers to get a fair deal a hike in food prices should be seen in the context of reality and the protection of interests of the growers. However, since the country’s politics has been put on a roadmap of election (no date has been announced though) among the most sensitive issues is the food security. Thanks to a well-devised agricultural policy, in which farmers get adequate support in the form of subsidies for irrigation and other inputs, Bangladesh is self-sufficient in grains production. The government is also making sure that the distribution also reaches up to the level of poor people.

 

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has proved many of her critics and political opponents wrong. She has now been in office for an uninterrupted period since 2009 (the election was held in December 2008 and she was sworn in as the PM in January 2009). During this period she faced and overcame some tough political challenges thrown by her arch rival BNP leader Khaleda Zia. Since losing the election in 2008 Khaleda and her close ally Jamaat-e-Islami left no stone unturned to oust her government throw a plethora of conspiracies and a long spate of violence that witnessed killing of innocent citizens in petrol bomb attacks carried out by BNP-Jamaat activists. In stepping up their conspiracies against democracy and all the good associated with it BNP-Jamaat boycotted the Jan. 5 general election held in 2014. The evil designs did not work. The people of Bangladesh, inspired by Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, overwhelmingly rejected Khaleda’s call for boycott of the polls and at the same time resolutely resisted the bid to sabotage the entire election process. In going ahead with the Jan. 5 election the incumbent PM has delivered a great service to democracy and constitutional politics. Had not this election been held Bangladesh could have plunged into a constitutional crisis. That is what Khaleda and her allies wanted to happen. She failed because the people of Bangladesh stood firmly behind Sheikh Hasina and her government.

 

The people are expected to do the same in the next general election too.

 

Comments: fhossainap@yahoo.com

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