Truth bitter or embarrassing is truth nevertheless02 July 2015 Editorial Desk
Information Minister Hasanul Haque Inu's comment on Saturday that BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia would not get a chance for taking part in the election of 2019, because she would be in jail, has elicited strong objection from another minister. The information minister was indirectly referring to some under trial cases about which the government seems quite committed to prosecute her. Mr. Inu put it in such a way that he was sure of the result of the cases.
Suranjit Sen himself a former minister and now a Presidium member of Awami League told the parliament that ministers belonging to whichever party must bear in mind that whenever they say something, its consequences equally fall on the prime minister. Mr Sen cautioned the information minister saying "Keep this in mind that we are not embarrassed,". Mr. Inu has a party of some sort but now part of the coalition government. One is not sure whether Mr. Sen was more eager to please the prime minister or wanted to disagree with the truth of the statement that Begum Khaleda Zia will not be allowed to take part in the election to be held in 2019. But everybody will agree with the information minister, if the past is anything to go by, that the next election will also be tailor-made for the present government to remain in power. The information minister told the obvious truth but may be too soon. The 2019 is still years away. It is also possible that the information minister felt the need of assuring those near him that the government was to stay.
Whatever is being said about development in various areas, the truth is that the people see the picture differently. The government also knows that it cannot win a free and fair election now or in 2019.
Sadly, the Awami League has ceased to be a people's party and fears to face the people in an honest election. Some are said to be trying to save Awami League excluding those from other parties.
The issue is not excluding Begum Khaleda Zia or her opposition BNP alliance from the election, it is denying the people their democratic right of electing their representatives to form the government. It is not just BNP or Begum Khaleda Zia that the government fears. It is free election that is their nightmare.
We are not surprised about who alone or how many more will be put in jail for winning the next general election. To remain in power life long let the government try to prove its competence as a government. A failed government bring its own downfall. It is easy to use police power to put anybody in jail. But political understanding and leadership are required to run a durable government safely.
The truth may be bitter, even embarrassing, but it remains the truth nevertheless. There are many other things, besides putting the opposition in jail for rogue elections for which any government should feel embarrassed. When the Finance Minister AMA Muhith tell the press that the government's own people stand in the way of proceeding against corrupt bank officials it is a shame for the government as well for the minister himself. To be dependent on police for political leadership is not glorious either. For the government to be surrounded by corrupt ones cannot be honourable. To allow a minister to remain in office while fighting appeal to set aside conviction for corruption cannot be respectable. Presiding over an unaccountable and indiscipline administration cannot be reassuring for the government.
Most disturbing for the government should be indiscipline in police administration. Suspending some police officials may not have the desired result.
The best advice any minister can give the government is to pause, think and use foresight. Confrontational politics and lack of popular support cannot be welcome as good politics.