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H M Munir
The message is clear. And, the message is: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sincerely wants to bring about a qualitative change in the way of running the country and that she would take an uncompromising stand in her new mission.
In her pre-election speeches she urged the countrymen to forgive the mistakes her government had committed during the earlier three tenures and requested them to give the Awami League one more chance so that they can rectify those mistakes and take forward the nation to its anticipated development goals by finishing her incomplete tasks.
The people, especially the young generation, kept faith in the PM and presented her with an overwhelming victory in the 11th Parliamentary Elections. The AL solely won 259 seats, and the accumulated number of seats won by AL-led alliance is 288, out of the 299 constituencies where elections were held on December 30.
And, soon after her party’s reelection, the PM has embarked on a fresh journey to fulfilling her pledges. The prime minister came up with a big surprise in terms of selecting cabinet members. Proving the speculations of many people wrong, she excluded many seasoned ministers and inducted a good number of new faces whose names were barely discussed for the cabinet race.
However, the surprising picking up of ministers has faced little criticism. In fact, even the hardcore critics of the incumbent government and the PM could not raise question about the PM’s choice. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has made a wonderful blend of youth and experience in her new cabinet. And, in doing so she has had to drop out some highly experienced administrators.
Undoubtedly, the PM has given priority to young bloods in order to add dynamism to the governance system as well as to prepare the future leaderships. However, the PM at the same time did not forget to let them know of her stance that she would not hesitate to terminate them if they fail to perform as per her expectations.
She has unequivocally called upon the new ministers to try to know and understand their responsibilities first and then go for discharging their duties. The PM issued warning to the ministers by saying, “Be careful, I’ll always keep you under my surveillance to see who’s doing what”.
It is evident from the activities of the ministers in the first few days of assuming office they are also sincere to match the PM’s expectations of them.
For an instance, the new cabinet members except for the PM took bus rides, instead of taking the flagged cars allocated for them, to Savar and Tungipara to pay homage respectively to the Liberation War martyrs at the National Memorial and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman after the government was sworn in.
One might argue as to how one can come to a conclusion that the new ministers are truly committed to serving people just on the basis of their riding buses. Some might go even farther and wonder who knows the ministers are not showing off to attract the attention of the people. To these groups of people one would like to say that it’s not about coming to any conclusion and that whether they are doing gimmicks to attract people’s attention will be clear from their activities in future.
However, for now at least, one must say things are going on in right trajectory. None can deny the fact that it has been an unprecedented incident in the history of the country where all cabinet members rode the bus together. Against such a backdrop that the ministers in Bangladesh usually have made it to the headlines by taking advantage of protocol and even driving the car on the opposite side of the road, the new ministers’ riding bus to rid the people of suffering due to traffic congestion on the road, and to save public money certainly deserves applause.
As it is said ‘morning shows the day’, one can definitely assume observing the first few days’ activity of the new government that the fourth tenure of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is going to be an epoch-making era in the country’s history. The next five years are going to see a regime that will give topmost priority to upholding the rights of the common people, establishing good governance and, above all, stride a big leap towards building an all-meaningful ‘Sonar Bangla’ as envisioned by the Father of the Nation.