Is the game really on? So it seems! Once again we are being forced into fear and apprehension. We remain clueless about the proceedings of tomorrow.
The nation is unduly weighed down with the unbearable load of uncertainty. This is unfortunate.
Events are taking sharp twists and turns. BNP and its allies had announced the October 25 rally in Dhaka long before the Eid holidays. It has been saying that the final declaration would come from the October 25 meet.
Meanwhile, the government did not budge from its position until the address of the prime minister last Friday.
However, the address for which the nation was waiting with great hope did not amount to much.
Heads of states or governments don’t address the nation frequently. Except on special occasions of national import or celebrations, they don’t come on TV or radio to speak to the people. Whenever they do, it creates extraordinary interest.
Our prime minister’s speech at short notice to the citizens created a huge reaction among the populace.
We were all of a sudden informed by the TV channels and online papers that the PM would speak to the nation on October 17 at 7.30 pm.
First, people were enormously busy with festivity of Eid and Puja. They were more worried about the availability of tickets on trains and busses, the long queue of vehicles on the highways, the overcrowded steamers, and the fluctuating cattle market than anything political.
People were rather bracing themselves for “something else” after the Eid. Sadeq Hossain Khoka’s emotional call upon the party activists to face the government forces with “dao” and “kural” sent a chill down the nation’s spine.
The PM’s speech and the proposition therein about formation of an all-party government was indeed a positive note. But just, only just! Even the PM must have realised that she did not give any detailed offer as to the size of the proposed cabinet, who will be head of the government, functions of the ministers, etc.
Consequently, the proposal by the PM to the opposition to submit names of their MPs to be included in the polls-time management has fallen apart. However, it did manage to create some ripples in influential quarters.
Individuals from all sections of society poured out their reactions. There is a new hype in politics. Media is agog with news on the issue, taking reactions, and making news.
Akbar Ali Khan has welcomed the PM’s proposal and said that now the opposition should go to the parliament and start negotiating.
Barrister Rafiqul Haque however is not so happy and said the proposal is incomplete. Jatiya Party said it will sit with the PM and would discuss at length if there is anything more in her bag. HM Ershad once again, as usual, hinted at parting with the grand alliance.
And the debate goes on, will go on, until a new situation emerges.
Even before the deliberation could reach every nook and cranny of the country there came the most unwelcome announcement from the Dhaka Metropolitan Police that all kinds of meetings and rallies are banned in Dhaka until further notice, which clearly points at the October 25 meeting called by the BNP.
Police have their own reasons to impose the ban. They claim the restrictions have been imposed to avoid violence that might erupt as both BNP and AL have called meetings on the same date.
The ruling party could have avoided the confrontational decision, knowing very well the outcome.
This announcement not only creates a further rift, it also diminishes the hope of a dialogue which the PM’s proposition had created.
One fails to comprehend what prompted the ruling party leaders to be so impatient about the opposition reaction or plans.
It could have easily played the part of observer and waited until something concrete could be learnt from the rivals.
In a natural reaction to all these developments in just two days, the opposition has rejected what it calls the hypocritical approach by the government.
A strong quarter believes that the PM’s proposition was just to stem the hype that the opposition has been creating lately. She also threw a spanner in the possibility of a negotiation.
She managed to create some interest and excitement by her pronouncement, but the subsequent decision by the police to ban meetings and rallies has altered whatever good image the government had earned.
By now it is clear that the prime minister and ruling party influentials are aware that elections under the present setting will not be acceptable to the people.
The party should come up with tangible offers to make the opposition draw closer to the negotiating table.
Let not the people hold government liable for the ills to come. Let the opposition have some role to play and responsibilities to carry out.
After all, the opposition is also accountable for smooth running of the political affairs of the country.
To the politicians: don’t give us the excruciating weight of insecurity!