Hopeful launch of the new government
Any way one looks at it, the developments after December 30, 2018 has been positive for the country in all respects. First of all, the people as well as our international friends were enormously relieved that fully participatory national elections could be held in Bangladesh with only some reasonable doses of violence. On the whole the elections were peaceful. As usual the losers in the election are calling the same a farce and seeking repolling. But internally and externally there seem to be hardly any groundswell of opinion or views favoring the loserOkiyafront’s views. The international community seems to have accepted preponderantly the election results evident from the pouring in of congratulatory messages to Sheikh Hasina on her massive victory over her opponents.
The opposition can only lick their wounds. Previously they did not contest elections and that gesture was designed to rob Awami League (AL) and Hasina ‘legitimacy’ as the 2014 national elections were not contested by them. But this time they participated fully in the polls and did not withdraw. Thus, the 30 December election fully met the criterion of participation and inclusion of all major political forces in the country. Thus, winning in this election gives the AL and Hasina full legitimacy or having ‘legitimately’ formed an elected government.
What such developments mean for Bangladesh must be counted as enormous in the positive sense. The elections will usher in for the next five years stable conditions in the country as none will have either the grounds or realistic possibilities of whipping up any unstable conditions based on the election results. The opposition will have to swallow their discontent regardless of whether they like it or not. This stability will allow the incumbents in power to consolidate their powers further. Businesses in the country will be very glad as they can hope to reap the dividends of stability by going for stepped up investments in the economy as the uncertainties over the post election scenario have cleared with the possibility of continuing stability showing up so clearly. Needless to say, such a situation will likely result in substantial increase in economic growth leading to higher employment and income for people.
The optimism is strengthened by the first several days of the new government. The new government has sent a clear message of how it wishes to preside over the country in the next five years. This was reflected amply in the formation of the new Cabinet of Ministers and their deputies. PM Hasina appears to have decisively broken traditions by axing almost all the senior leaders or Ministers at one go. With a few exceptions, most of the stalwarts from her previous Cabinet were dropped to be replaced by new faces. The few who were retained enjoyed sound performance records and only on the basis of their good track records they held on to their positions. No considerations of seniority, support in the party or recognition of personal stature could quite sway the PM from keeping them in their Ministerial posts. Very notably, the PM did not keep any of her relatives in the new Cabinet to stay clear of any charge of nepotism. The formation of the new Cabinet appears to have been guided singularly by evaluation of fitness and integrity tests of the new Ministers and Deputy Ministers. Therefore, one may sensibly expect that the leadership of the new government will be quite dedicated to their tasks and would succeed drawing on their efficiency and sincerity.
That the government means business was signaled from its first day in office as several local Chatra League local leaders were picked up by the police and charged for their alleged role in raping a woman who supported the BNP during the election. Unlike in the past when law enforcers usually took such events casually or seemed lukewarm in taking action against student supporters of the ruling party, this time they were very prompt in arresting and sending to prison the offenders. Two police officers were also sacked for their initial underperformance in this case. This episode is exemplary that the new government has gone for a whole new start or change in its attitude. It is likely to respond to each case on the basis of its merit or demerit and not on considerations of party linkage or loyalties. One only hopes that this attitude will prevail and provide the badly needed good governance expected by the people.
Meanwhile, the new Finance Minister has raised hope by some actions that he intends to take the bull by the horns in his Ministry. The Finance Minister has spoken that very soon he will start cleaning the stables thoroughly in his vital Ministry that would shake up and revitalize the banking and financial sectors.