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Hidden theme of 'Digital Bangladesh'

Edit Date:8/13/2010 12:00:00 AM



by Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
August 13, 2010

Just nineteen months back, Bangladesh Awami League formed government in Bangladesh with its electoral manifesto titled 'Vision 2021', which was destined for ensuring 'Digital Bangladesh'. It was greatly understood by many that, Sheikh Hasina and her party copied this theme of Vision 2021 from that of Barack Hussain Obama, who too was set in Presidency in United States almost during the same time.
It is important to mention here that, in Bangladeshi democracy, political parties are set in power through election for a period of 60 months, while in United States; Presidents are elected for a period of 48 months. In such case, while Barack Obama has roughly 29 months to go, Bangladesh Awami League will be in power for another 41 months to be in power.
Obama's policies have greatly flopped in United States and his Democratic party is expected to witness a severe setback during the coming elections of Senate and Congress in November 2010. It is easy to predict now that, Obama's befooling policies have already started to be disliked if not hated by Americans.
On the other hand, ruling party in Bangladesh is visibly intensifying its grip over country's administration and the very democracy gradually with the aim of continuing in power at least up to 2021, if not more. Supporters of Bangladesh Awami League are openly declaring that their party will remain in power for next couple of decades, while it is adopt every possible 'strategies' in dumping the political opponents either inside prisons or in exile.
Now let us have a glimpse over the electoral manifesto of Bangladesh Awami League:
[1] It says "Good governance through establishing Rule of Law and avoiding Political Partisanship, Human rights will be established on a strong footing with a view to ensuring rule of law. Independence of the judiciary will be ensured and the Institutions of the State and Administration will be freed from partisan influence. The basis of appointment and promotion will be merit, efficiency, seniority, honesty and loyalty to the Republic; political connection will have no relevance."
What we see in reality? There is every sign that the ruling party is trying to everything in suffocating voice of political opponents including the media. Scores of cases are already lodged against opposition leaders as well as members of media for criticizing the government. And interestingly, most of such cases are lodged by the activists of the ruling party. There is a clear signal to everyone of not uttering a single word against the ruling party. "Be with us or be treated as our enemy" is the policy of the ruling party in Bangladesh.
Cases of persecution of religious minorities, especially Hindus and Ahmadiyas are continuing in full swing in Bangladesh. There had been cases of destruction of Hindu temples as well as Ahmadiya mosques in the country, with numerous instances of abduction, forceful conversion etc.
Extortion and massive lawlessness by the cadres of the ruling party is a regular phenomenon. Especially the youth and students fronts of Bangladesh Awami League are active in extortion, terrorism, vandalism and various forms of crimes. No action has ever been taken for any such crimes.
Promotions are mostly considered on the basis of loyalty towards Bangladesh Awami League.
[2] It says "Transformation of political culture, Terrorism, corruption and use of religion for politics will be stopped. Steps appropriate to the time will be taken to establish democratic principles in the political parties, transparency of political funding, civility and tolerance."
Political culture is unchanged if not worsened. Terrorism by the ruling party cadres is continuing. The ruling party is continuing massive offensives on Jamaat-e-Islami, while it is reluctant in taking any action against other Islamist parties in Bangladesh.
I have just taken two of the several points from the electoral manifesto of the ruling party in Bangladesh. If anyone will look through it carefully, they will easily understand that the entire manifesto was created with a huge dream of continuing in power till 2021. In this case, instead of calling it 'Vision 2021', we can rather name it 'Mission 2021'. It is not a mere 'vision' of Bangladesh Awami League to be in power till 2021, but this is their 'mission'.
In the same electoral manifesto, Bangladeshi Awami League pledged to take a 3-year 'crash program' in meeting the 'existing crisis' in power sector. They have promised to install sufficient number of power stations to ensure smooth supply of electricity to the country. But, in past nineteen months, instead of seeing any improvement in power crisis, there is visible sign of severe deterioration in the entire situation. When Awami League came in power, there was daily blackout [load shedding] for 1-2 hours a day, while now it has become normal to witness blackout of 5-6 hours a day. The situation will further worsen during coming days. Industrial sectors are already facing virtual collapse due to such situation in the power sector and foreign investors are not showing any interest in investing in Bangladesh due to power shortage as well as crimes like extortion, vandalism etc.
So the very concept of 'Digital Bangladesh' by Bangladesh Awami League is by now questioned by many. People are whispering terming 'Digital Bangladesh' as 'Digital BAKSAL'. I am sure; the present government will take lesson from the past and will not repeat the same blunder. The entire nation had highest aspiration on them and the ruling party cannot afford to dampen the people.


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