Political parties are voted to office for five years. The ruling Awami League has already passed four years of its current tenure.
The party’s performance of the last four years and the coming year will determine if it can secure a third consecutive term, speakers said at a Bangla Tribune Boithoki titled ‘Four years of Awami League government’s second term’ on Thursday.
Fazilatun Nasa Bappy, an Awami League MP from the reserve seat, the ruling party’s Organizing Secretary Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury Nowfel, BNP’s Organizing Secretary Shakhawat Hasan Jibon, journalist and columnist Bibhuranjan Sarkar and Bangla Tribune’s Head of News Harun Ur Rashid took part in the discussion.
It was telecast live on ATN News and the Bangla Tribune’s official Facebook page.
‘AL has both visible successes and failures’
Journalist Bibhuranjan said: “A negative image of the government comes to the fore if we notice daily incidents of forced disappearances, activities of Chhatra League and the ruling party. A lack of good governance catches the eye.
“But there are also the government’s development activities. So, as the Awami League government has visible successes, it also has visible failures.”
He continued: “The people know best if the incumbent Awami League government is working as per its [election] manifesto, since it is them (the people) who vote for a candidate to fulfil specific goals. So, they can understand if the goal had been met.
“I believe the people will determine if the Awami League will come to power again. The party’s future depends on its activities of the last four years and the next one year.”
‘Bangladesh turned around under AL’
Reserve seat MP Bappy said that Bangladesh had made big strides towards development during the Awami League’s rule.
“Our per capita income has increased. The [annual] budget is consistent with the development trend,” she said. “We are now a role model for the world.”
“Our biggest achievement is the Padma Bridge,” the MP continued.
“The World Bank has admitted that it had made a mistake by not funding the bridge. We have become a middle-income [country] from a low-income [country. There has also been significant development in the power sector.”
‘AL is taking the country forward’
Awami League Organizing Secretary Nowfel said Bangladesh was not lagging behind in any sector.
He said: “The people are getting the benefits [of the government’s development works] and the Awami League heading towards the next election with these [achievements].
“Whenever we announced our election manifesto our opponent party (BNP) only launched violent demonstrations to go to power. They practiced this type of politics before.
“They announced their Vision 2030 following Awami League’s Vision 2021. They do not have originality. They would have had political constructive plans if they were a political party in true sense.”
‘Farmers-workers behind GDP growth, not govt’
BNP Organizing Secretary Jibon said the current GDP had grown to 7.28%.
He said: “The government wants to claim credit for it but I would like to point out that the GDP grows through production such as the work of the garment workers and the agricultural works of farmers. This is their contribution.
“It is a continuous process that will take place with the passage of time.”
About the health sector, the BNP leader said that the medical service available for the general people of the villages were very poor.
“They are not getting proper treatment. I am a doctor and I encounter the same scenario in the villages,” he said.
Jibon said that hundreds of people, including BNP leader Ilias Ali, had become victims of forced disappearance over the last four years, adding: “Those who do return, become silent.”
He also criticized the government for not allowing his party to organize rallies and processions in the capital, saying: “The BNP cannot hold rallies and take out processions in Dhaka but they (the Awami League) can. Is this democratic practice?”
‘People will decide AL’s fate’
Bangla Tribune’s Head of News Harun said that the Awami League had announced some manifestos before the election.
“One of the important ones was good governance. The conditions of good governance are that people will have freedom of speech, the judiciary will function independently and the political parties will be allowed to exercise their democratic rights,” he noted.
“Ensuring these [is good governance]. The people will judge how much of this is being implemented under the current government’s rule and decide whether the Awami League will stay in power.”
He said ‘psychological censorship’ had been created on journalists on various matters such as forced disappearance.
“We journalists rethink. I have been a journalist for 18 years. No such thought of censorship occurred to us before but it comes to mind easily now,” he added.