US President Harry Truman (1945-53) put up a wooden sign saying “The Buck Stops Here” on his desk table at the White House office. The saying came from the slang “pass the buck” which means passing the responsibility on to someone else. So “the buck stops here” means this is the place of ultimate responsibility, it cannot be passed to anywhere else. Our Prime ministers are emperors sanctioned by the constitution. Everything that happens in their administration is their responsibility, a fact that their myopic supporters fail to recognize.
Sheikh Hasina is now gingerly moving towards a compromise about interim government during next election. What does these political two-step dances means and what will be the outcome is anybody’s guess. But what cannot be the object of slightest doubt is that Sheikh Hasina is the only person who is responsible for these months of chaos and uncertainty, hundreds of deaths, billions of taka’s loss in property and productivity. She is the person who nullified Caretaker Government at one stroke of pen by using Justice A.B.M. Khairul Haque. She is the person who did not consult with anybody else when she replaced CTG with a patently absurd and autocratic system. Sheikh Hasina is single-handedly responsible for using constitution as a medium of passing edicts from her personal whim.
Now that Sheikh Hasina is retreating, all her acolytes are singing paeans of Hasina’s sagacity. They are saying that Hasina is showing tremendous statesmanship by being flexible. They are saying Hasina’s magnanimity must be matched by Khaleda Zia. These neural walking-dead conveniently forgot how only a few days ago they were fully in agreement that only Hasina can head a interim government. They have no recollection of parroting time and time again the nonsensical statements by AL leaders on obsolescence of a non-partisan interim government during election. These people were never right and they are not right now. The last thing that BNP leaders need to do is to heed these flock of sheep on the banks of Jordan.
The main issue before us is not the election. Elections will come and go, parties will win and loose, some pigs will feed at the trough until bursting point and other pigs will undergo forced diet. But if we are to gain anything from these travails, we can make sure that making constitution a vehicle of personal whimsy cannot go without consequences. Sheikh Hasina is the person who is responsible for this mess and she must be made understand this. Considering how she is eating humble pie before the public, it is clear that she somewhat understands the terrible corner that she painted herself in.
To slacken the pursuit of a retreating army means letting the army get a breather to fight back harder tomorrow. Until Sheikh Hasina completely owns her personal blunder, until Sheikh Hasina fully accepts a non-partisan head of government, there should not be yielding from the opposition. The whole country understood right from the beginning who is morally right in this issue and that’s why the opposition’s support has grown by leaps and bounds to unprecedented level in this year. The opposition should not ditch what has proven to be working spectacularly and heed advice from people who has been only consistent in their error.