আলোচনা Oct 18, 2013

Discussion Topic: Sheikh Hasina’s speech on interim govt.

Shafiq

হাসিনার বক্তৃতার পূর্ন টেক্সট কি কোথাও পাওয়া গেছে? প্রথম আলোতে বক্তৃতার শেষ অংশ উধাও দেখলাম। যাই হোক, হাসিনার বক্তৃতাটি একসাথে ইলেকশনের জন্যে ক্যানভাসিং এবং বিরোধী দলের প্রতি এক টুকরা হাড় ছুড়ে দেয়া। হাসিনার ‘গুড কপ’ রুটিন দেখলাম। আমার মনে হয় আগামী কদিন দেখবো পাতি নেতা আর উপদেষ্টাদের ‘ব্যাড কপ’ ভূমিকা।

তবে বিএনপি’কে অবশ্যই একটি সুচিন্তিত প্রতিউত্তর ও পাল্টা প্রস্তাবনা উথ্থাপন করতে হবে। বিএনপি’র প্রতি জনসমর্থন বেড়েছে আওয়ামী লীগের ফ্যাসিস্ট আচরনের জন্যেই। এখন আওয়ামী লীগ আপাত দৃষ্টিতে ফ্লেক্সিবিলিটি দেখালে, বিএনপি’কেও সেটা আমলে নিতে হবে।

Rumi

As I am saying all along, Mrs. Hasina cannot think of a scenario where she is not the supreme leader of the country. For her, relinquishing power is not an option at this point.  The power game she played this term is of much higher stake. She feels that the downside of these higher stakes game is too much. As such, she would think risks of leaving power is higher than hanging on to it using brute state force.

I feel her proposal of an all party government is a fodder for her loyal media men ( e.g. Shohrab Hossain of Prothom Alo, Syed Badrul Ahsan of Daily Star etc.), intellectual cadre and party activists to maintain a face saving existence in public discourse. Now many of these Hasina loyals will come up and start saying, ” See PM had made the concession and now the ball is at BNP’s court”.

jrahman

There is a general tendency among Bangladeshi pundits — of all types, ages and political camps — to underestimate the political acumen of the two netris.  These women have not been the undisputed leaders of their parties just because of legacies of dead men.  Sympathy doesn’t last for 30 years.  They have been party leaders because they are better politicians than Tofail and late Razzaq and Moudud and late Mannan Bhuiyan and Kamal Hossain and B Chowdhury and anyone else you care to name.

AL chief has made a pretty clever move.  As Shafiq says, this is “আপাত দৃষ্টিতে ফ্লেক্সিবিলিটি” — nothing real has changed, but if BNP outright rejects this, it will be blamed for the ensuing violence.  On the other hand, if it goes along with the charade and discuss the contour of “all party of government”, it will just legitimise the concept.  What a pickle.

What if BNP chief counters with a proposal of her own?  Maybe she can ask for a closed door summit of the two leader?

Shafiq

Jyoti, you know very well that a one-to-one summit between these two will never happen. Without even considering the enmity, the two leaders do not want to talk to each other without the full support of their trusted kitchen cabinet. I believe BNP should formulate a proposal but stick with ‘Not Hasina, not AL-politician’ at the head as the main point of the negotiation. People have a sense of fairness and this demand as a deal-breaker will be understood by all.

Rumi 

It seems except for low intellectual level followers of AL- even their more aggressive intellectual warriors are not buying the offer of Hasina as a significant positive move. So I do not think this is at all a ‘pretty clever’ move. 

On Jyoti’s assertion that Khaleda/ Hasina being smarter politicians than most of their contemporaries – I think Khaleda/ Hasina could become what they are today principally because of their family heritage. Yes both of them had a lot of personal sacrifice and both went through pretty tough times and both took some very smart political moves – but at the end of the day – it is their dynastic credential that kept renewing their uncontested control over their supporters.

3rd issue – what should be BNP response now? I think BNP should reply Hasina’s ‘chalaki’ with their own ‘chalaki’. Rather than downright rejecting the proposal- they should thank Hasina for the great proposal, accept and make a detail proposal on how the government should look like. They counter offer should include 5 Al, 5 BNP MPs as ministers and one technocrat member of the ministry who will be PM. BNP offer should also include distribution of  specific ministries where groups of two ministries will be paired for assignment between AL and BNP. e.g. Establishment/Home ministry will be one group – one party cannot have both the ministries. Similarly Other 8 vital ministries will be paired.

4th issue – Is this whole all-party government discussion a ploy? A ploy to buy time, keep BNP from launching street agitation and suddenly conduct a election on Hasina’s terms with a short notice keeping most of BNP leadership in jail?

jrahman

Shafiq, it’s not quite accurate that both leaders refuse to talk to each other.  Mrs Zia is reported to have wanted to see the AL chief right after 21 Aug attack.  And she did visit the PM after her husband died in 2009.  And in any case, the point is not that such a meeting will achieve anything or even takes place.  The point is, BNP must not simply refuse.  As Rumi bhai says, BNP needs to counter this move with a nuanced move of its own.

Rumi bhai, we can/should have a detailed discussion about the political acumen of the two leaders — perhaps some other day.  Agree with your other points.

Rumi 

I think this news report clarifies Awami League’s ultimate game plan. AL will make such an offer that BNP will be forced to reject ( i.e. per AL’s counter plan to BNP’s plan- AL will say Hasina will remain PM, BNP will get proportional representation of ministries i.e. 1 ministry in 10 member cabinet and PM will decide the portfolio). AL will make a so called all party government and conduct an election banning all rallies and keeping BNP leadership in jail.

Shafiq

Looks like the proposal was mostly a sop to the ‘shushil’s so that they don’t protest too much in case of a BNP-less election. Shushil has become a good noun again.

এ বিষয়ে আওয়ামী লীগের অপর এক শীর্ষস্থানীয় নেতা নাম প্রকাশ না করার শর্তে প্রথম আলো ডটকমকে বলেন, ‘দেশের সব বুদ্ধিজীবী প্রধানমন্ত্রীর সর্বদলীয় সরকার গঠনের প্রস্তাবকে ইতিবাচকভাবে দেখেছেন। অথচ বিএনপির শরিক জামায়াত এই প্রস্তাব প্রত্যাখ্যান করেছে। আমার মনে হয়, বিএনপির এই প্রস্তাব মেনে নেওয়া উচিত। আর বিএনপি না এলে তাদের ছাড়াই নির্বাচনকালীন সরকার গঠন করা হবে।

আইন প্রতিমন্ত্রী কামরুল ইসলাম বলেন, ‘সুশীল সমাজের অনেক প্রতিনিধি প্রধানমন্ত্রীর এ প্রস্তাবে বিএনপিকে সাড়া দেওয়ার আহ্বান জানিয়েছেন। এখন বিএনপি শান্তির পথে আসবে, না অশান্তির পথে যাবে, এটা নির্ভর করছে তাদের ওপর।

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s