The idea held and propagated by the opposition BNP-Jamaat Jote that there could not be and free and fair polls under Sheikh Hasina has been proved to be wrong. But the scenario of the election held on 30th December 2018 has demonstrated for the first time that there could be election under incumbency in a free and fair way. The observers of both inside and outside the country have keenly observed all the features of the recently held election and the remarks they have made, sufficiently go to prove that the election has been free and fair. It is now known to all that in a democratic dispensation in all the countries, it is difficult to hold an absolutely free and fair election. The fact of the matter is: to what extent the election has been able to reflect opinion of the mass, that is really important for consideration.
We all know that the people of Bangladesh and many people of the globe even the UN representatives did hint that the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to be reelected. This was based on the fact that the ten years continued governance by Sheikh Hasina has raised the status of Bangladesh to such a height that another five year’s term may fulfill the expectation of the people of Bangladesh. This is the primary reason of his landslide victory in the recently held election. The election campaign that was vigorous for three weeks have witnessed how lakhs of people converged on gatherings addressed by Sheikh Hasina.
It is a fact that people belonging to different segments have got the benefit of her one-decade governance. The business community, professional groups, teachers, government and semi-government officers, the judiciary, police, BGB, the army all have been benefitted by the ten years’ rule of Sheikh Hasina. The present strong economy is the result of Sheikh Hasina’s good governance. Who could provide 35 crore books to 4 crores children on the 1st day of the year? No other country in South Asia could do it that way. Sheikh Hasina has been giving free tiffin to the millions of primary students. This has contributed to reduce drop out and raised the rate of literacy. How could the students forget the assistance given to them by the government facilitating their education? How farmers could forget the benefits like fertilizers, free seeds and water for irrigation, easy loan? How could the labor going out of the country for job deny assistance given to them by the government for earning billions of dollars as foreign exchange? How the people in the rural areas could forget the benefits that they receive today from the rural health clinics? How could the elderly citizens and widows forget the benefit that they receive as old age pension scheme and widow allowances from the government? How could government officers deny the huge rise of their salary in some cases 300% to able them to lead a better life? How could they forget the kind of support that the government of Sheikh Hasina did offer them in times of cyclone, flood and other forms of natural calamity like draught, heavy cold? Is there any government in the globe that distributes lakhs of tons of food grain free? Hardly there is government that could help its citizens so quickly as being done by Sheikh Hasina government when it finds its citizens in acute distress irrespective of caste, creed and religion.
Hardly there is a government in the globe that serves its citizens so quickly based on consideration of humanity. Is there a country that could accommodate 11 lakhs of refugees on its own soil to mitigate their sufferings and misery? Sheikh Hasina demonstrated to the rest of the world that her country could do it and is ready to save these people from utter distress. The term mother of humanity has duly been given to a person who really deserves it.
Sheikh Hasina means love, Sheikh Hasina means sympathy, Sheikh Hasina means justice, Sheikh Hasina means secularism in true sense, Sheikh Hasina means progress and prosperity, Sheikh Hasina means accurate power of judgment and what not? Bangladesh is lucky enough to get a leader like her. So the people voted for her. They want to see her in governance much more than any other leader of the country. Whoever and whatever has been told by the opposition leaders of the country have been told out of jealousy to tarnish the image of Sheikh Hasina. But the people at large know Sheikh Hasina so thoroughly that they committed no mistake in casting their votes in favor of her for the fourth times to steer the country.
The general election this time was not an election for simple transfer of power as generally held in other democratic country of the globe. For Bangladesh it was an election to determine who would govern Bangladesh – the pro-liberation or anti-liberation forces. The counter revolution occurred in 1975 killing Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and overthrowing the party that earned national independence and it was Sheikh Hasina who as chief of the party saved the country from disaster. It is Sheikh Hasina who restored the past glory and values earned through the war of independence. It is she who brought the country to right track leading to prosperity. It is due to her visionary and dynamic leadership that Bangladesh has been graduated to developing country. The recent landslide victory of Sheikh Hasina will ensure smooth journey towards becoming the 26th largest economy of the world from the present 42nd by 2030 as predicted by the global research.
If Bangladesh continues to practice democracy election would be held every five years and transfer of power would take place as usual but power this time was really very crucial. It was not an election but a struggle between the pro and anti-liberation forces to decide forever who had the moral and legal right to rule over Bangladesh. The victory of Sheikh Hasina in the 30th December election settled it forever. The enemies of independence will never be able to rule Bangladesh anymore. So the election this time has consolidated the country’s independence and sovereignty.
Dr S A Malek is former political adviser to the Prime Minister and Member of Parliament, general secretary of Bangabandhu Parishad and Columnist