Editor's Mind

Messi couldn't do it alone, can Sheikh Hasina do it?

Publish: 10:00 AM, 26 Nov, 2022


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Dilip Barua is a lucky politician. Even if he does leftist politics, he moves around power. When the BNP-Jamaat alliance was in power, he visited China as a travel companion of the then Prime Minister Begum Zia. When the Awami League government was formed in 2009, he was given the responsibility of Ministry of Industries. The technocrat served as minister for five years. He is the everything of his communist party. No staff, no seats, yet he had the rare fortune of becoming a minister. Since the 2018 elections, the Awami League has followed the policy of walking alone. Therefore, the leftist party leader is alone. Worn out and abandoned. Anyone who is in such trouble should be upset. So was Dilip Barua. That's why he gave an angry interview to BBC. In that interview, he said, "Considering the national and international situation, there are many limitations to have fair elections in Bangladesh. There may be no election at all". Barua is a veteran politician. In an interview with the BBC, he spoke about his disdain for the Awami League government, just like the apprehension he spoke about the election, it cannot be dismissed. Rather, he spoke frankly and openly about the fear of the future in the politics of Bangladesh.  

 

The twelfth national parliament election in Bangladesh is scheduled to be held in January 2024. A year and two months before the election, the political arena in the country is slowly heating up. Western countries, including the United States, are openly talking about the election. The civil society is sleepless worring about the election. The Election Commission has announced that they are determined to prevent elections like Gaibandha. In everyone's initiatives, arrangements, anxiety and speech, it seems that the main goal of a collective power is to thwart the next election, not to hold a fair election. The main and infallible weapon to oust the Awami League government is just not to allow the election to take place. Even some of the ruling parties are active so that the next parliamentary elections do not take place. Even in the administration, the evil power of disrupting the elections has spread. For the sake of argument if we assume that eventually the election was not held, then what will happen? According to the constitution of Bangladesh, national parliament elections are supposed to be held every five years. It is a constitutional obligation. If this election is not held, a constitutional vacuum will be created in the country. Unconstitutional forces will get a chance to come to power. The constitution will be torn apart again. An undemocratic and unelected government will come to power. Is there a concerted effort to create such a situation? Is there another one-eleven in progress in the country?

 

Awami League has won all the last three elections. Among them, the 2008 election is one of the best elections in the history of Bangladesh. In the 2014 elections, BNP boycotted the elections demanding a non-partisan caretaker government. More than half of the constituencies were elected as members of parliament without a vote. The Jatiya Party partially participated in those elections. But BNP could not prevent that election. A total of four elections were held in Bangladesh without the participation of major parties like in 2014. BNP boycotted the May 7, 1986 elections. Awami League participated in that election. In the face of certain defeat, the ruling Jatiya Party leader Ershad, a military hero, stopped announcing the election results. Later, he fabricated results and then broadcasted that on radio and television. That election is known as media cue election. The life of the parliament formed through the election of 86 was only one and a half years. The first session of that Parliament was held on July 10. But on December 6, 1987, the President dissolved Parliament in the face of intense opposition. Neither Awami League nor BNP took part in the parliamentary elections of March 3, 1988. A coalition of opposition parties led by A. S. M. Abdur Rab and the Freedom Party, the fascist party of the self-confessed murderers of the Father of the Nation, took part in that election. There was no voting in that election. Mock results are declared. The first session of the Parliament was held on 25 April 1988. On December 6, 1990, this parliament was abolished by the fall of Ershad. Another election was held on 15 February 1996 without the participation of all major political parties. In the wake of unprecedented rigging in the Magura, Mirpur by-elections, the Awami League started a movement demanding a non-partisan, neutral caretaker government. At that time, BNP said 'No one is neutral except madmen and goats.' Begum Zia remained steadfast in her election decision despite the intense mass agitation. Almost all political parties of the country including Awami League, Jatiya Party, Jamaat boycotted that election. Apart from BNP, Freedom Party, a group of self-confessed murderers, took part in that election. In the face of intense mass agitation, there was actually no vote on February 15, 1996. 49 candidates of BNP were elected unopposed in the election. Without a vote, the commission announced a shocking result, dividing the seats between the BNP and the Freedom Party. The commission took 5 days to do this. The Parliament was convened on the night of March 19 by publishing a gazette notification. The lifespan of this parliament was only 7 days (4 working days). This parliament was dissolved by passing the non-partisan Caretaker Government Bill. One such concept that the parliament cannot complete its term without the participation of any major political party was established in the politics of Bangladesh. This was the main source of motivation for BNP's election boycott in 2014. Not only BNP but also most of the leaders and candidates of Awami League thought that this election is an emergency measure. Another fresh election will be held soon. That is why Awami League candidates tend to win without votes. Most of the Awami League candidates refrain from campaigning and spending money. Attempts are made to dismiss the opponent with a small amount of money. In some places, the opposition was removed from the election by using the administration and threatening. As a result, there was no voting in more than 150 constituencies. Voters were not enthusiastic even in the polling places. A strange thing happened after that election. The parliament formed on January 5, 2014 completed its term. The reason for this was the negative politics of BNP. The people of this country expressed mistrust against BNP's incendiary and destructive politics by accepting that election. However, there was another thing behind it. Good governance and development by the Awami League from 2009 to 2013. People's lives were getting easier. Trade was expanding. People didn't agree to change that. Didn't want to jump into the sea of uncertainty. The 2018 election was a conspiracy to tarnish the Awami League. Even if that election was the best fair election in the world, Awami League would have won. BNP participated unconditionally in the 2018 elections. to protect the existence of the party. Accepting Dr Kamal Hossain as the leader, BNP participated in the election knowing the sure defeat. But some overzealous sycophants strangled the prospect of a fair election under a party government. Those who did this in that election, they are actually the enemy of democracy. If that election was good, this crisis would not have happened today. Western countries would not have had the opportunity to talk about elections like this. Now BNP has got an opportunity. They want to take Bangladesh in an unconstitutional tunnel in the name of boycotting elections. Now the real game of politics is the fight to not hold the election. Here the field fight is only a show. The real game is behind the scenes. Whereas Awami League is always clumsy and immature. Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader is now branding the slogan 'Khela Hobe' every day. Invented by Shamim Osman, marketed by Mamata Banerjee of West Bengal, what game is the general secretary of Awami League talking about by saying this much-talked-about slogan repeatedly? Is he shooting at the wrong target? Because this time the game is not a competition of who will win the election but a game of no election. The game of protecting the constitution. Who will win this game?

 

Now the whole country is trembling with World Cup fever. Arguments on who will win the world cup? Who is a better team? Brazil or Argentina? Just as sport is uncertain, so is politics. On Tuesday, after a meeting and came to the office around four in the afternoon. As soon as I entered the office, I saw a commotion. Then I learned it was about Argentina-Saudi Arabia match. That's why my colleagues were so excited. Justin, Rifat and others were watching the game wearing Argentina jerseys. The gap between Argentina and Saudi Arabia is huge. Argentina's football heritage is amazing. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia's big achievement is to play in the World Cup finals. No one had any doubt that Argentina was going to win. The thing to be seen was how many goals Argentina scores. Lionel Messi is one of the best players in the world after Pele and Maradona. A living legend of football. Apart from the World Cup trophy, there is no other achievement in football that Messi has not achieved. Many enlightened sports critics say that Argentina should win the World Cup trophy for Messi. If Messi does not win a World Cup, it will be a misfortune for football. Lionel Messi's Argentina went undefeated in 36 consecutive matches before coming to the World Cup. Therefore, Argentina has come to Qatar on a mission to win the World Cup for the third time. After the start of the game, it seemed that the world's third football power would easily win against Saudi Arabia. Within 10 minutes after the start of the game Messi scored and made a a unique record.  The football wizard entered the elite club having scored in four consecutive World Cups. But who knew then that many surprises were yet to come. Just 5 minutes of the second half changed everything for Messi's Argentina. Saudi Arabia won by creating one of the great upsets in the history of World Cup football. In the first match, all the Argentinian players, except Lionel Messi, looked dull and lifeless. Messi is lonely. His teammates are not supporting him. This game made one thing clear, that a superhero cannot bring victroy alone. A coordinated team work and everyone’s contribution is required. Just like sports, politics also requires team work. A leader needs trusted, tested, competent allies. It requires compromise, understanding and coordination. After watching the Argentina-Saudi Arabia game, the picture of Bangladesh politics appeared in my mind. Messi was alone in that game. He was not getting enough support by his teammates. Similarly, I think that Sheikh Hasina is alone in the politics of Bangladesh. There are no qualified people to help her in the government or in the party. Awami League government is running the country for three consecutive terms. In 14 years Bangladesh has reached a unique height and this achievement belongs to only one person. That is Sheikh Hasina. She is alone taking the country forward. There were also a few visible allies in the first and second terms. But coming to the third term, it seems that Sheikh Hasina is fighting alone.

 

The second most important person in a government after the Prime Minister is the Finance Minister. Boris Johnson appointed him (Chancellor of the Exchequer) as Finance Minister. As Finance Minister, he was widely praised for his innovative initiatives during the Corona period. In an interview with the BBC at the time, Rishi said, "The most sleepless, anxious and unhappy person in the world is the finance minister of a country." Jamie Hunt is the new finance minister in the Rishi government. On Tuesday, he said in an interview with the Guardian, "No finance minister in this world has a chance to breathe." Joe Biden has created a surprise by being elected as US President. Appointed Janet Yellen as Finance Minister (Secretary of Treasury). She is the first woman finance minister in US history. The United States has recently been plagued by severe economic crisis and inflationary pressures. In an interview with the Washington Post, Janet Yellen said, "This responsibility is such that you can't think about yourself for a moment." This is the situation of the finance ministers around the world. But things are quite different in our country. Receving any news from the finance minister is a big deal now a days. A 'missing notice' can be issued for him at any time. He has no role in overcoming the crisis. He does not even know why he is the finance minister. Commerce Minister has no control over the market. His words carry no weight and value. There is a lot of discussion within the Awami League about how big a burden the Minister of State for Power is for the government. The railway minister has made his own constituency the headquarters of the railways. Despite his bride's interference in ministry work, he refuses to consider it a breach of oath. He did not realize the need for resignation. The foreign minister is now teaching journalism. Bangladesh have never had such a talkative foreign minister. Messi lost against Saudi Arabia. With all these players (ministers), will Sheikh Hasina be able to defeat the 'election boycott' conspiracy? What will these ministers do in a bigger crisis? Some of the ministers (not all) are causing more trouble to the government. The government is getting discredited because of some people. Sheikh Hasina knows more than what we know about the qualifications and limitations of the ministers. She knows that the job of the ministers is now to cut the ribbon, sit on the decorate seat and give speech as the chief guest at various events. Getting the job done by the bureaucrats. If the house helper once understands that the people of the house are helpless without him, he will definitely take advantage of it. Their demand continues to grow every day. When the bureaucrats realized that the ministers were 'incompitent' (borrowing the language of late Suranjit Sen Gupta), they started to increase the list of demands every day. They are building a wall between the government and the people. There is a fundamental difference between politics and sports. In football or cricket, the fans have no role except to clap their hands or shout loudly. Fans can't make their team win. But in the game of politics, supporters are real. Supporters are the power. Only the supports came make the team win. And to create supporters requires organization and good work. Supports increase when the organization is strong. The party becomes popular. And if there is no organization, even great leaders also disappear. The most recent example of this is the recent defeat of Mahathir Mohamad, the founder of modern Malaysia, in the Malaysian elections. Mahathir was defeated for the first time in his 53-year political career. Because he had no organization. This 92-year-old veteran politician could not build the new political party properly. Awami League is still surviving, because of the organization of the grassroots. But now looking at the district and upazila mass gathering, does it seem that the organization of Awami League is in order? Or the opportunists have taken over the Awami League. There is no triumph of youth in the organization. Those controversial old faces are coming back again and again. Will this organization be able to support Sheikh Hasina in the electoral game? This game is going to be hard. This game will not be like 2014 or 2018. In the game of the field and the game of politics, one thing is exactly the same. Miracles. Many legends single-handedly changed the fortunes of the game. For example, Maradona in the 1986 World Cup. Even in politics sometimes great men emerge. The people are excited at the tilt of his finger. All conspiracies are thwarted. For example, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib. Sheikh Hasina has his blood in her veins. Whenever there is a disaster, whenever there is darkness covered with black clouds, Sheikh Hasina has come forward as a beacon. Dealt with the crisis alone. Maybe this is her strategy. She saw 1975, 2001 and 21 August of 2004. Saw one-eleven. May be this is why she wants to take the risk alone. The word "faith" disappeared from her mind. She alone wants to win Bangladesh and its people. Messi couldn't do it alone, can Sheikh Hasina do it? 



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Editor's Mind

Readymade Candidates and Shortcut to Parliament

Publish: 10:05 AM, 28 Jan, 2023


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December, 1990. Ershad government has just fallen. A new caretaker government has been formed under the leadership of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Sahabuddin Ahmed. Election winds blowing across the country. With the urge to implement the outline of the three alliances. The combined student union has called to resist the “Agents of Dictatorship”. Meanwhile, one afternoon, two secretaries appeared at 'Bangabandhu Bhavan' at number 32. They want to meet Awami League President Sheikh Hasina. Awami League President is very busy with elections, activities of three alliances etc. assigned an important leader of Awami League to listen to those two bureaucrats. That popular and influential leader in the bureaucratic circles spoke to Keramat Ali and MK Anwar. Two bureaucrats said they want to contest in the National Assembly elections. They have huge popularity in their area. All they need now is the nomination of Awami League. The responsible leader of Awami League told their desire to the party chief. But Sheikh Hasina rejected their proposal. Sheikh Hasina returned MK Anwar and Keramat Ali for two reasons. Firstly, both of them are blacklisted as Ershad's friends. It was clearly stated in the outline of the three alliances that no party of the three alliances would give shelter to any of Ershad's associates. Awami League President showed respect to the outline of the three alliances. Secondly, Awami League is a political organization. Obtaining party nominations in political organizations is a lengthy political process. There is no shortcut to getting nominated in politics. No one gets nominated suddenly. Awami League's door was closed for two bureaucrats. But incidentally at that time an influential leader of BNP came to 'Bangabandhu Bhavan' at Dhanmondi 32. To attend the Tri-Alliance Committee meeting. At the end of the meeting, he met those two bureaucrats. After listening to their interest, he took them to the BNP office. Arranged them a meeting with Begum Zia. The next day, they resigned from government service and officially joined the BNP. MK Anwar and Keramat Ali had no difficulty in getting BNP's nomination for the election. They contested as ready-made candidates of BNP and won. BNP surprised everyone by winning a single majority in the National Parliament in the February 1991 elections. BNP formed the government with the support of Jamaat. Both MK Anwar and Keramat Ali became ministers in the BNP government. Among them, MK Anwar was an influential leader of BNP until his death. This is a classic example of shortcut to become MP and minister in the political history of Bangladesh. No standard practice. No political practices. no loyalty to the party. No loyalty to the party. No knowledge of the party's goals and ideals. In a flash like Aladdin's lamp, they became MP and minister. During the reign of Ershad, two powerful bureaucrats developed their area by spending state money and later became ready-made candidates. MK Anwar and Keramat Ali's shenanigans in the 1991 elections opened up the 'shortcut' way of politics. However, the trend of becoming an MP in shortcut way started from 1975 onwards. Zia formed the BNP with mercenaries from various parties. Now this trend is ubiquitous. As the tendency to become MPs in shortcut is increasing among individuals, it is now normal for political parties to look for 'ready-made' candidates, excluding long-time party stalwarts. 'Ready-made' candidates are much like ready-made clothes. You go to a store and get a dress. You joined the party and become an MP with money. After the 1991 debacle, the Awami League moved away from its conservative stance in nominating candidates. The election of 1996 was a challenge to the existence of Awami League. Awami League also started looking for ready-made MP candidates to face this challenge. BNP is already a party based on ready-made candidates. When the two major parties tend to turn to ready-made candidates, becoming MPs in shortcut got recognized as normal political practice. Businessmen, ex-bureaucrats, retired army officers all joined the race to become MPs in the shortcut. In the 1996 election, the Awami League denied the nomination of many field politicians, including the late advocate Sahara Khatun, Mozaffar Hossain Paltu, to make way for short-cut nominations. What is the formula to become an MP in the shortcut? You own huge wealth (legally or illegally). Go to your election area and build some mosques and madrasas. Give charity. Surprised everyone by sacrificing 100 cows in your area on Eid-ul-adha. Boom. You are popular. Now some people of Awami League, BNP will contact you openly and secretly. You give them shiny new money. This is not the only shortcut to becoming an MP. You are a government official. People of your area come to you for various reasons. There is no road or bridge in the area, the school has to be included in the MPO, the roof of the mosque has to be welded, and if you provide jobs to the unemployed in the area, you will be blessed. When a bureaucrat becomes a secretary, he has a lot of power. The power of secretaries is now limitless. When the outbreak of Corona started in 2020, secretaries were given the responsibility of the district. The secretaries owned the all-power of the district through the district commissioner. Bureaucrats were taking all the decisions of the district. Their value increased in the area. Opportunistic sycophants were flocking. Suggesting that they are wiser than a member of parliament. If you were the MP of the area, this area would have changed. People want you. The bureaucrats surrounded by flattery are also giddy with happiness. They also thought, what is the MP doing in the area? I made the road. I am making a list of ‘kabikha’. It is up to me to decide who gets home from Ashrayan Project. So, they became a bigger Awami League than Awami League. The greed of shortcut to MP got them. Earlier, the businessmen went ahead in the race to become an MP in a shortcut. The number of businessmen in the National Parliament is now more than 50 percent. Most of them have no previous experience in politics. They are doing business, taking a huge amount of loan from the bank and not paying it with various loopholes and not even becoming debtor. They created their own mercenary forces in the area. Made another Awami League within Awami League with 'My Men'. Among the businessmen who have become or are in the process of becoming a shortcut MP, have a kind of business 'motivation'. If he becomes an MP or a minister, he will be able to grow his business. Debt will be easy in the secretariat. No need to pay bribes. It will be convenient to get the tender. So, election is good investment for them. Since 1975, businessmen have therefore been very enthusiastic about investing in the political sector. Politicians in the national parliament are cornered by the tide of their money. Many up-and-coming politicians have also been lured by the magic of becoming shortcut MP of established businessmen. They have imbibed honesty, idealism, sacrifice etc. in the self. But to get nomination, money will be required. Elections will cost money. What is the way to make money? Tender trade, recruitment trade etc. Under the guise of a politician, they are embarking on a robbery mission. You can't become an MP without money. So, they run to become bigwigs in short cuts to become MPs. Their number is not less in the national parliament. Compared to that, the presence of bureaucrats in the National Parliament is negligible and some people in the bureaucratic circles are endlessly sad about this. They only have power as long as they have their job. But when the tenure of the job is over, the struggle begins. Some try to get contractual employment after their tenure. Some wants a commission or a post-retirement job in an organization and some expects to become the chairman of a bank. Thus, bureaucrats have captured almost all institutions and positions. The national parliament has not yet come under their control. However, the main reason for this, is not the failure of bureaucrats. Now the way bureaucrats squirm around power like a fish in monsoon bill, it is not a difficult task for them to enter the parliament. They will make a good competition with the businessmen. But the obstacle is actually a law. Representation of the People Ordinance 1972. Section 12(1) (f) of this Act states, ‘Provided that no person shall be eligible to be elected or to remain as a member (Member of Parliament) if- (cha) if he has resigned or retired from any service in the Republic or Statutory Government Authority or from the Department of Defense and three years have not elapsed after his resignation and retirement.’ Just as stale flowers are not valued, bureaucrats' 'artificial power' is exhausted after three years of retirement. After the lapse of three years, those who survive in the field of politics, continue to exist on their own strength. At this time they have to go through the political process. This time, bureaucrats (military and civil) want to challenge this clause before the National Assembly elections. A writ petition was filed in the High Court Division of the Bangladesh Supreme Court challenging this clause on Thursday, January 19. In pursuance of a writ petition, the High Court issued a ruling seeking to know why the provision of participation in parliamentary elections after three years of retirement from government service is not unconstitutional. The High Court bench comprising Justice Zafar Ahmed and Justice Md. Bashir Ullah issued this rule. Brigadier General (retd) Shamim Kamal filed a writ petition challenging 12 (1) (f) of the Representation of the People Ordinance. For some days there was pressure from the bureaucrats to cancel this section. At first some bureaucrats tried to persuade the government to abolish this clause. But the government has so far not taken any initiative to change this law. Earlier some bureaucrats had approached the court to cancel the law. But in order to file a writ petition in the court, the petitioner must be aggrieved - the High Court did not consider the petition on this argument. Now the writ petition is pending before the court. Judges will make a final decision about it by analyzing their intelligence and legal aspects. However, there are two types of arguments for and against this law. A bureaucrat spends the first year on post-retirement leave after retirement. During this time, he does not work but enjoys salary and allowances. For the next two years, he feels that heat of power. A restriction of three years of non-participation in elections has been imposed on government officials, considering that he may gain extra advantage in the electoral field. Those who are in favor of it think that if this provision is not there, bureaucratic candidates will get extra advantage in the election field. Considering the political party candidates who can show more power in the elections, a newly retired bureaucrat can influence the field administration in the conduct of the elections, the law-and-order forces will show favoritism towards him. As a result, political parties will be motivated to nominate bureaucrats. They will be the most sought-after ready-made candidates who can become MPs in a shortcut.

Again, the argument against it is not to be dismissed easily. According to the constitution, the law is equal for every citizen. Article 27 of the Constitution states, "All citizens are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of the law." After retirement, a government officer and employee are equal to 10 ordinary citizens. Therefore, barring them from participating in the election is a violation of Article 27 of the Constitution.

There are more such arguments for and against. But I think the decision of bureaucrats, businessmen, looters, black money owners not to participate in elections is an important political commitment. The decision of the political parties is important in this regard. After 75, Zia seized power and said that he would make politics 'difficult'. Indeed, politics in the country has become difficult for politicians. Real politicians are gradually falling behind in the process of becoming members of Parliament. Major political parties want to win any kind of election. And they look for ready-made candidates to win. Again, to further inflate the huge illegal wealth and keep him safe, the march to become an MP is also growing. Do you remember the former MP of Laxmipur-2 Constituency Mohammad Shahid Islam Papul? He became MP only with the power of money. He also made his wife a member of parliament under the women's quota with money. Many papuls now want to gain impunity through elections. In this situation, if retired government officials also contest to become MPs, then politics will become more difficult for real politicians. There are many ways to contribute to the country. One can contribute to the development of the country from where they are. A businessman will play a major role in advancing the economy of the country. That is his sacred work. Why should he be an MP? A government official can advance the country by working with honesty and devotion. He does not need to be an MP for this. Citizens of every profession have different positions, roles and responsibilities in society. Just as it is not a good sign for businessmen or bureaucrats to occupy the field of politics, similarly politicians should not be businessmen. If everyone in the country wants to be an MP-minister, then the balance will be lost. That imbalance is now being noticed in various fields. Recently, the Prime Minister has taken some initiatives to bring politics back to the politicians. In several by-elections she gave a message by nominating tried and tested politicians of the party. In the meeting of the parliamentary party, she declared her determination to bring forward the tried and tested candidates of the party in the next election. But she can do so in a risk-free, unimportant by-election. When the opponents are looking for ready-made candidates in the national parliament elections, will Awami League be able to ignore those who want to be MPs in a shortcut? In the 2018 election, we saw a wave of ready-made candidates in the BNP. BNP revealed its real politics by nominating a moneyed ready-made candidate instead of a nationally known leader like Ehsanul Haque Milon. It is easy to predict the ready-made candidate who will be in BNP in the next election. Awami League also has the urge to change many constituencies. Will field politicians get priority or Awami League will also look for ready-made candidates to make MPs in a shortcut?

There are many doubts about the next national parliament election. Will BNP come to the election or not? Will there be free and fair elections or not? But I think the next election is a litmus test for politics. It is now a big challenge that the National Parliament should not be held hostage in the hands of ready-made MPs by shortcuts. Whether the politics will be in the hands of the politicians is going to be a serious test of the upcoming elections.



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Bangabhaban awaits for whom?

Publish: 10:01 AM, 21 Jan, 2023


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April 21, 1977. It's past midnight. Abu Sadat Mohammad Sayem is deep asleep in his bedroom at Bangabhaban. A sudden sound of boots. Sound of screaming. President Justice Sayem woke up and heard a loud noise. Some soldiers broke the door of his bedroom. The President was still unable to fully get out of bed. Armed military men surrounded the president pointing stun guns at him under the leadership of Ziaur Rahman. Justice Sayem trembles with fear. Such a situation was beyond the imagination of that old man. Zia was holding a paper. In a threatening tone, he said, "Sign Hair." The president was a little embarrassed. He asked in a frightened tone, what is it? Zia replied 'You are sick. You are resigning from the post of President due to illness.' Gathering some courage, he said, 'I had a health check-up last week. I am completely healthy.' Zia now aims the stun gun at his chest and in a stern voice he says, 'sign'. Abu Sadat Mohammad Sayem had no other option. He has to give up either his life or the presidency. With trembling hands, he picked up the pen and paper and signed. Zia then pushed Justice Sayem away and snatched the paper. Minutes later Zia, the army chief, a military hero, declared himself president. The account of Zia's capture of the Bangabhaban at midnight appears in the book titled 'At Bangabhaban: Last Face' written by Abu Sadat Muhammad Sayem himself. The book is not available in the market now. It has a Bengali translation. But that's censored. The Bengali translation does not contain the story of Zia's capture of Bangabhaban. The original English book was banned by the BNP after coming to power in 1991. This is one of many scandalous incidents that happened around Bangabhavan after independence. Bangladesh's presidential fortune is not very cheerful. Most presidents did not complete their terms. Two presidents were killed in military coups.

Those who became president in Bangladesh can be divided into two categories. A type of president who is under a presidential system of government. They were very powerful. Three of them were directly elected by the people. However, all three votes were controversial and farcical. Another type of president is those under parliamentary democracy. Now Bangladesh is a parliamentary democracy. The power of the President is now largely formal. But still, he is the guardian of the state. This highest post of the country is important for many reasons. Bangladesh will welcome a new president this year. The countdown to the presidential election has begun. Bangabhaban waits for whom? 

We may get the answer to this question very soon. But the past history of our presidency is full of bitterness. There have been conspiracies to destroy democracy in various ways in Bangabhaban. Therefore, the selection of new residents of Bangabhaban is important for many reasons.

During the Great Liberation War of 1971, the Mujib Nagar Government was formed on 17 April. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu was declared President in the 'Mujib Nagar Government'. Bangabandhu was then in Pakistan prison. Tajuddin Ahmed made Bangabandhu the President and became the Prime Minister himself for strategic reasons. After the victory in the liberation war, the father of the nation returned home on January 10. Without delay, he introduced parliamentary democracy in the light of the spirit of the liberation war. Bangabandhu left the post of President and took oath as Prime Minister. Justice Abu Sayeed Chowdhury was elected as the new president on January 12. Abu Sayeed Chowdhury was the president for almost two years. Then on 24 December 1973 Mohammadullah became the President. On January 25, 1975, a presidential system of government was introduced in Bangladesh. Mohammadullah left the post of president and became a minister. After the terrible tragedy on August 15, 1975, Mohammadullah became the vice president under murderer Mostaq. Mohammadullah is undoubtedly one of those whose names are notable in making joke of the most honorable post of presidency. How does a person become a minister or vice president after being in the highest constitutional position? When all these impersonal, greedy people enter Bangabhaban, it poses a danger to politics and the country.

After January 25, 1975, a new system of government was introduced in the country. All political parties are brought under one umbrella. Bangabandhu took oath as President. But after only 202 days, the country's founding father was brutally killed by the anti-independence forces. Within three and a half years of victory, the scandalous chapter of killing the president with his whole family was written in Bangladesh. The Supreme Court termed the presidential chapter of murderer Mostaq as unconstitutional. So, I am not willing to recognize the 83-day tenure of the murderer Mostaq as president. After Mostaq, Justice Sayem became the President on November 6, 1975. I started my writing with his story. Army chief Zia declared himself president by removing Sayem at gunpoint. In my opinion, it was treason. Because his becoming president while serving in the army was a serious constitutional crime. But in a cruel irony of fate, the very weapon that brought Zia to power also brought his tragic end. Zia was brutally killed in a military coup in Chittagong on 30 May 1981. Vice President Justice Sattar became Acting President. But according to the constitution, he was ineligible for the presidential election. Constitution was amended to make Justice Sattar eligible for election. On November 15, 1981, the presidential election was held through direct voting. Justice Sattar won the election by defeating Awami League nominated candidate Dr. Kamal Hossain. But widespread allegations of vote rigging and fraud arose against Justice Sattar and the BNP. Bangabhaban has been affected again. On March 24, 1982, a military coup took place in Bangladesh. Justice Sattar was deposed. Ershad Putul made a puppet president by seizing power. Justice Ahsan Uddin Chowdhury was made President. But the real power was Ershad. Ershad followed in Zia's footsteps at every step of his illegal dictatorship. On December 10, 1983, Ershad deposed Ahsan Uddin Chowdhury and declared himself the president. This military dictator served as president for about seven years. However, he remained in power for nearly nine years as the chief martial law administrator and usurper of illegal powers. A short-term caretaker government was then formed under the leadership of Justice Sahabuddin. It was the result of the mass anti-dictatorship movement. Justice Sahabuddin served as the head of the non-partisan, neutral caretaker government or acting president for about a year. BNP came to power in the 1991 elections. The two major parties agreed to re-establish parliamentary democracy in the country. The bloody chapter of the presidential system of government came to an end. In a parliamentary democracy, the powers of the President are severely curtailed. BNP made the post of President dishonorable. Late Dr. Akbar Ali Khan in an article entitled 'Bangabhabane Bantuk: Is the executive moving towards an elected dictatorship?' of his book 'Obak Bangladesh: Bichitro Cholona Jale Rajniti' has presented the actual story in a very skillful manner. I am presenting some of it for the readers to consider it relevant: 

"At the end of 1991, I was transferred from the post of Economic Counselor to the Bangladesh Embassy in the United States and appointed as Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Finance. Two or three days after joining the finance department, Finance Minister Saifur Rahman called me. He expressed his opinion about various irregularities of a managing director of a bank and suggested filing a file recommending his removal and appointment of senior deputy managing director in his place. I returned to the office and after discussing with the officers of the concerned department I was satisfied that there was much truth in the Minister's allegations. I request the Joint Secretary to immediately prepare the file as directed by the Minister. The file arrived on my desk within a few hours. A summary of the document is submitted to the president for approval. It may be recalled that the files regarding changes in the bank's managing directors had to be submitted to the President in the President-ruled system. But after the fall of Ershad, the constitution was amended and a cabinet-ruled government was constitutionally introduced. Although the constitution was amended, the rules of procedure were not amended. The Rules of Procedure prior to the amendment of the Constitution stipulated that the appointment of Managing Directors would require the approval of the President. As there was still inconsistency between the Constitution and the Rules of Procedure, the Cabinet Division's direction was sought as to whether the President's permission was required in this case. The Cabinet Department in consultation with the Ministry of Law said that till the time the rules of procedure are not amended, the permission of the President should be taken in this case. The joint secretary showed me the document. I was satisfied and forwarded the summary prepared for the President to the finance minister.

The next day when the minister came to the office, his personal assistant informed me that I should meet the minister immediately. As soon as I went to the minister's room, the finance minister asked me, why did I present the summary to the president? Am I not aware of the cabinet-ruled state system that has been introduced in the country? In that context, he asked in English that, do I think Batku sitting in Bangabhaban is really running the country? After saying that it was done on the advice of the Ministry of Law, his anger turned on the Ministry of Law. He abused the Law Secretary over the telephone and told me that the document could not be sent to the President. I said you write that the summary should be presented to the Prime Minister. He wrote and accordingly, the document again returned to him and action was taken with his and the Prime Minister's permission.

The solution of the departmental work was fine, but a big suspicion arose in my mind. The relationship between the finance minister and the President was not good at that time. The then president was short. But by using the word Batku (short), the finance minister was not only mocking his shortness, but also implied the political philosophy of the finance minister. He believed that the role of the President was secondary in a cabinet-led state system. If the members of the cabinet are as powerful as giants, then the power of the President is like dwarf." (Book: 'Obak Bangladesh: Bichitro Cholona Jale Rajniti; Page 165-166) 

Abdur Rahman Biswas was a local-level razaka in 1971. Through this, BNP made the highest constitutional post of the country dishonorable. But despite that, Abdur Rahman Biswas completed his term. He is the first president in Bangladesh to hand over power peacefully after completing his term. The Awami League government led by Sheikh Hasina came to power after 21 years in the 1996 elections. Sheikh Hasina tried to make parliamentary democracy work. The prime minister's question and answer session was launched in the parliament. She took initiative to make the parliamentary committees effective. Sheikh Hasina also made the highest constitutional post dignified. Retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and former Chief Justice of the Caretaker Government, Sahabuddin Ahmed was elected as the guardian of the state. Sheikh Hasina wanted him to be neutral. Wanted to be accepted by all. Sheikh Hasina started the custom of honoring the President. Meeting the President after visiting foreign countries. Sheikh Hasina introduced the practice of going to Bangabhaban to inform him of various situations. She replaced the 'Batku President' as 'His Excellency'. Power is not a big deal for her. She took the honor of the President into unique heights. Sheikh Hasina set an extraordinary example of giving recognition to the constitution and constitutional positions. But in return she was betrayed. Justice Sahabuddin as President took a stand against Awami League. He questioned the government by making various irrelevant statements. One of the reasons for Awami League's disaster in the 2001 elections was Justice Sahabuddin's controversial role. Justice Sahabuddin is a prime example of what happens when a so-called impartial person is brought to the highest post. In October 2001, the BNP won a huge victory. BNP chose the party's founding leader Professor Dr. Badruddeza Chowdhury as president, because BNP wanted a 'Batku' as president. BNP did not accept an acceptable, truly guardian president. Professor Chowdhury became untouchable and that is why the ruling BNP took the initiative to cut him off. After his resignation, BNP took 77 days to find another 'Batku' person for the post of President. Until then Speaker Barrister Zamir Uddin Sarkar served as Acting President. Professor Iajuddin Ahmed of Dhaka University became the new 'Batku' discovered by BNP. BNP leaders used to call him 'Yes Uddin' and he was like joke for the BNP leaders. He too had become an impersonal, clownish figure during the crisis. Being obedient, 'Yes Uddin' pushed the whole country into deep crisis. The main reason why the unelected government sat on the chest of Bangladesh for two long years was the lack of political wisdom of Dr. Iajuddin Ahmed. It was the second Batku president that has done the worst damage to BNP. In 2009, Awami League formed the government for the second time under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina. This time, Sheikh Hasina chose Zillur Rahman, the guardian of the party, an idealist leader without deviation in politics. However, Zillur Rahman became a guardian of the nation due to his political wisdom and foresight in the crisis of 1-11. He earned the trust, confidence and respect of all. He died as President. The whole country was shocked by his death. As a President he was truly the head of the family called the State. After his death, Awami League chose Abdul Hamid as its president. A grassroots-born politician who speaks in common people's language. In simple words, he can climb the high walls of Bangabhaban and blend into the crowd. An idealistic but very simple man. His stay at Bangabhaban for nearly 10 years in two terms is now coming to an end.

I did this brief review of the Presidents since independence out of fear. Democracy is threatened whenever the wrong people enter the Bangabhaban. Undemocratic rulers have degraded the highest office by inducting loyalists into the Bangabhaban. We don't want a shameless president like Mohammadullah. I also reject those who oppucy the Bangabhaban with arms and plays the tune of patriotism. Just as we don't want a nameless 'Batku' to be the president, we also don't want a civilized ex-bureaucrat to controvert the 'Bangabhaban' with the power of extreme neutrality. The President is the first citizen of the state. A politician. An ideal person with whom people will relate and think of as one of their own. Awami League has such a person. 'Democracy' will be secured if he is given the ticket of Bangabhaban. If the key of Bangabhaban is in the hands of the wrong person, 'democracy' will go into exile again. Hard times are coming ahead. Selecting the resident of Bangabhaban is now very important.



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Editor's Mind

Why, when and how Awami League loses

Publish: 12:12 PM, 14 Jan, 2023


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On the 16th anniversary of One-Eleven, the political arena of the country was abuzz. BNP has done a countrywide sit-in protest program and Awami League has remained vigilant. There has been massive public suffering in these programs during working days. But still there was a sense of relief in the public mind. Common people want peace. They want to do their work properly. Therefore, any political program spreads panic among the public. Lately, the confusion within the BNP has become evident. On December 24 of the outgoing year, the BNP announced the program of the mass rally. The date of Awami League council session on that day was fixed long ago. Then they fix another date 30th December for mass rally. On Wednesday (January 11), BNP held a sit-in protest program. This time, however, not only BNP, but various parties and alliances have declared solidarity with BNP and stayed at different places in Dhaka. BNP, however, also held this program in their 10 organizational divisions outside Dhaka. Central leaders visit those divisional cities to make the program a success. One-Eleven is important in the politics of Bangladesh for many reasons. This day is especially discussed as an initiative to implement the depoliticization process. Just as One-Eleven thwarted BNP's one-sided farce election efforts, so was the mission to send politics into exile. BNP was actually ousted by a few loyalists of the BNP that day. General Moeen U Ahmed was a loyal military officer of Begum Zia. He was made army chief overtaking seven seniors. Begum Zia hoped that he would be by her side in difficult times. Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmad was appointed as the Governor of Bangladesh Bank by Begum Zia. General Amin or Brigadier Bari were all BNP supporters and anti-Awami League. Many people think that one-eleven was by the BNP. The BNP handed over power to the army-backed caretaker government on that day to escape the mass coup. But I don't think so. I think, One-Eleven was part of a depoliticization plot and a permanent settlement scheme to keep civil society in power without elections. Tarnishing politics in the name of reform. One of the objectives of One-Eleven was to portray politicians and businessmen. The main goal of the so-called political reforms of the One-Eleven government was a politics-free Bangladesh. But in the end, they could not achieve that goal. The caretaker government led by Dr. Fakhruddin was forced to hold elections. Sheikh Hasina was the main reason why the one-eleven plan failed. She was the first to speak out against the ruling government and demanded for a quick election. She protested against the spate of arrests of politicians. She was in very a difficult situation for this. A false case was filed against her. She was barred from entering the country by the unelected government. Later she was arrested and an attempt was made to implement the minus formula. But in the end Sheikh Hasina brought back democracy with her political foresight. The caretaker government was forced to hold an election.

A few days ago, Sheikh Hasina herself was describing the experience of one-eleven to the organizing secretaries of Awami League. Sheikh Hasina sat with the organizational secretaries of the party before the council. She shared her experience of that time. The army officers divided into two groups and approached the two leaders. General Amin came to Sheikh Hasina. As soon as he arrived, he was angry and slanged politicians. Sheikh Hasina was calm. She heard everything and then talked about her plans (Vision-2021, Vision-2041) for the country. On the other hand, Brigadier Bari went to Begum Zia. Khaleda was furious. She abused the army officers and threatened them. That’s it. From there, the two paths of the two leaders started. One-eleven has done the worst damage to BNP. Even in 16 years, the party could not heal that wound. That BNP wants to re-embrace the toxic grip of the caretaker government. Just as the snake entered Behula's house through the hole, there was a strange loophole in the constitutional system of the non-partisan neutral caretaker government. That loophole creates the opportunity for an unelected government to stay in power forever. In the constitutional provisions of the caretaker government, its term is 90 days. But there was no explanation as to what would happen if the government could not hold elections within 90 days. That is why Dr. Kamal Hossain said in the Supreme Court that the caretaker government can remain in power until new elections are held. It does not violate the constitution. Instead of 90 days, the caretaker government led by Dr Fakhruddin was in power for two years. It was during the caretaker government of General Moin and Dr. Fakhruddin that a consensus was established among the politicians against the caretaker government. Awami League, BNP, the two main political parties said no to the caretaker government. Later, however, the Supreme Court of the country declared the caretaker government system null and void. One-eleven is the day of destruction of democracy. BNP held mass disloyalty program on that day. Is this a coincidence or a sign? Does the BNP want to bring a one-eleven through the 10-point or state repair program? BNP wants to establish a civil government? Does BNP want the destruction of democracy? Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, however, is not at all upset by the opposition movement. The government is under some pressure due to money laundering, corruption, rising commodity prices, inflation, crisis in banking sector, dollar problem, global situation etc. That pressure can also be seen in the government's activities. Compared to that, the government is quite cheerful and pressure-free in the opposition movement. There are several reasons for this. First of all, the BNP-led movement has not had public involvement so far. Secondly, this movement could not go beyond the control of the government. BNP has carried out programs with the government's permission like an obedient son. Thirdly, the opposition movement gave the ruling Awami League an opportunity to organize. The party that has been in power for 14 years is uniting, forgetting the internal conflict. Leaders and workers are getting work. Awami League becomes stronger only when attacked. Forget their differences and unite. For this, the Prime Minister welcomed the opposition movement. But the government cannot be removed with this movement and Sheikh Hasina knows it better than anyone. That is why Sheikh Hasina said in the speech of the chief guest at the function organized on the occasion of the Father of the Nation's Homecoming Day on January 10, ‘Ousting Awami League from power is not easy’. After independence, Jasad protested against the Bangabandhu government. The Gana Bahini went on a rampage of terror. But Jasad could not bring down the Awami League government. In 1996, Awami League became the first government in Bangladesh to complete its term and hand over power peacefully. In 2013 and 2014, it was not possible to oust the Awami League even with arson. This movement is nothing compared to that. Therefore, according to the history of politics, the fall of this government is not possible in the movement. Only conspiracy defeats the Awami League. In 1954, the United Front led by Awami League was ousted by conspiracy. In 1975, the conspiracy put not only Awami League but also Bangladesh in a deep crisis. The 1991 election was a masterful execution of the blueprint for defeating the Awami League. The 2001 conspiracy also defeated the Awami League. Last January 7 was the completion of four years of Awami League government in its third term. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addressed the nation on this occasion. In that speech, she said, 'National elections will be held at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year. But since now, all the activities of anti-independence, power-hungry, looters and parasite groups have started. Their aim is to create chaos and seize state power through the back door. To disrupt the march of democracy.' The main function of tactics is to identify the real enemy. The Prime Minister has done that. He knows very well that the movement is a cover for the implementation of the conspiracy. The real work of ouster is behind the scenes.

When the Awami League is overconfident, traitors within secretly join hands with the opposition. When the warriors of Awami League are sidelined, neglected, when the party's tested warriors are cornered, when the truth is hidden in the coat of flatterers, when the opportunists surround the center of power, when the traitors put on the mask of loyalty, when the Awami League is falling in love with strangers, just then Awami League lose. Tajuddin Ahmad was exiled before 1975. Flatterers and opportunists like murderer Mostaq used to hang around Bangabandhu all the time. The spineless leaders were unopposed. Awami League had won the 1991 election before winning. Some of the overconfident Awami League leaders were busy dividing the cabinet offices. Before the 2001 elections, Awami League fell in love with the traitorous Justice Shahabuddin wearing the mask of loyalty. Depended on some spineless bureaucrats. Mistakenly thought the wrong people were on their side. What is the situation now? Are the intellectuals of the Awami League in the center of power? Or together with the reformists of one-eleven have been united? Apart from the tried and trusted bureaucrats themselves, will those who are being brought forward remain faithful in difficult times? Or they will take off the mask and show the real face? Those who are being rewarded in various ways in the administration, in the law enforcement forces, who have become a bigger Awami League than the Awami League, will they stand by in a hostile environment? HT Imam was the Cabinet Secretary in 1975. After the assassination of the Father of the Nation, he conducted the swearing-in ceremony of the illegitimate cabinet of the murderer Mostaq. History will judge whether HT Imam is traitorous or spineless. Another bureaucrat, Dr. Farashuddin Ahmed, could not stand firm on ethics in difficult times. He was the private secretary of Bangabandhu (President). The last ceremony of the Father of the Nation at the Ganabhaban on August 14 was the farewell ceremony of Dr. Farashuddin. The father of the nation was the chief guest on that occasion. Bangabandhu went back to Dhanmondi 32 after completing the ceremony with Tofail Ahmed. The next day he was supposed to go to Dhaka University. On August 15, 1975, the worst murder in history took place. What did Farashuddin do? He crossed over to the United States for higher education with no objection from the murderer Mostaq. Bureaucrats will not take up arms like Bangbir Quader Siddique. Won't sacrifice life and youth to fight resistance. How many bureaucrats left the job after 75? How many bureaucrats refused to work under the murderous Mostaq government as public servants? Only idealistic politicians fight resistance. Give up all the joys of life. Sacrifice youth on the altar of ideals. How many such leaders are there now in Awami League? Awami League government in the third term is very bureaucratic. Isn’t this bureaucracy creating a tunnel of conspiracy?

After coming to power in 1996, Awami League was looking for neutral people. Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed was elected President. MA Sayeed was made Chief Election Commissioner. The Awami League was defeated in the 2001 elections by the conspiracy of 'faithful traitors'. Now again there is a tendency to look for neutral person in Awami League. In Awami League, the people who are covered with dust and sand are not welcome. Neutrals are smart, intelligent. They are considered worthy. Smart Leader for Smart Bangladesh. But looking for smart people, where is the ideal test? Awami League will be hit again in the future if it is not checked. Sheikh Hasina is the Prime Minister for four terms. Awami League appointed three presidents under her leadership. Justice Shahabuddin was a non-political person. And Zillur Rahman and present Abdul Hamid were politicians who grew up from the grassroots. These two have proved that faith and loyalty to political ideals is the greatest integrity. Awami League has to elect a new president. Will the new president be a politician or a former bureaucrat? The success or failure of the conspiracy depends largely on this decision. After the disaster in the 2001 election, Awami League made a new committee through the council. The committee had a surprise. Abdul Jalil became the general secretary. Late Mukul Bose was one of the Joint General Secretaries. Potential leaders like Mahmudur Rahman Manna, Sultan Mohammad Mansur, Saber Hossain Chowdhury became the organizing secretary. But everyone knows what these wonderful, promising guys did during the one-eleven. Eleven-Eleven has taught us what happens if politicians are not loyal to the leadership, steadfast in their ideals. You cannot be an ideal leader only if you are talented. The only surprise in the Awami League's committee this time is to bring some of those 'geniuses' to the central committee. I am waiting to see what these geniuses who were born with a golden spoon would do in times of crisis. Some of them have recognized their caste by being awarded. The Awami League president made a formal announcement in a speech in the National Assembly and said that she does not read two newspapers. She has also explained the reason for this several times. After getting a place in the Central Committee a spokesman for depoliticization wrote a column in an English daily. How genius. They will clear the way for future conspiracies. If the house is in order, outside conspiracies cannot defeat Awami League. Awami League has never lost without treachery, greed and compromise of enemies at home. Awami League's main opponent is Awami League itself. Bangladesh's Awami League is the only political party which has not been defeated in any movement. Each time the Awami League has lost, there has been betrayal from within. The centers of power have previously been occupied by nonideological, flattering, opportunistic, hypocritical outsiders. The main reason for the disaster of Awami League in 1975, 1991, 2001 was the conspiracy from within. A united Awami League is always invincible. Because Father of the Nation Bangabandhu turned this party into a people's organization. Awami League has grown in the soil, people, water and mud of this country. The only way to defeat the Awami League is to create 'deceiver' inside the house. And this apprehension increases only when the crowd of opportunistic flatterers increases in this organization in return for Bangabandhu's sacrifice. However, one-eleven has taught Awami League a big lesson. Not Awami League but Sheikh Hasina has completely changed herself after one-eleven. The entire control of the party is in her hands. She is handling everything alone. She alone is running the government and the party. Time will tell if her strategy is right or wrong. But as a result, the conspirators are locked in a circle. Sheikh Hasina is using only what she needs. Not everyone knows everything. That is why Awami League is in power for three consecutive terms. Sheikh Hasina is now an incomprehensible page to the leaders and workers of Awami League. Sheikh Hasina's strategy during the 2014 election was unknown to Awami League. After the January 5 election, almost everyone in the Awami League was thinking about the preparations for a new election. No one in Awami League could have imagined that the 2018 election would be like this. Recently, Sheikh Hasina seems very strong, courageous and confident. A close listen to her speeches on January 7, January 10 and January 11 shows that she is very confident. She has prepared the roadmap for the upcoming elections. Which ocean the water of the movement will fall is already decided. So, it is not very easy for traitors to do something. But 14 years on, one thing is clear to political opponents and conspirators. Sheikh Hasina is the only opponent. She is the fork in the road. Lately the BNP and their controlled rumor cell have turned their guns on her. There is only one target - Sheikh Hasina. The fight ahead is therefore Sheikh Hasina's alone.



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Editor's Mind

Rangpur's ‘humiliation’ and New Year's fright

Publish: 10:00 AM, 31 Dec, 2022


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Farewell to 2022 amid tension and apprehension. Tomorrow the world will unfold the year 2023. For various reasons, the year 2023 is already a hot topic of discussion. The United Nations has already declared 2023 as a disaster year. The United Nations has predicted famine and economic recession in 2023. The World Bank agrees with the UN declaration. The agency said the world will have a tough time next year. As the sky is covered with black clouds before the onset of a heavy storm, the situation in Bangladesh is much like that now. A turbulent environment in economics and politics. The Prime Minister has called upon the countrymen to prepare for 2023. There is no good news in the economy. Footsteps of instability in politics. Bangladesh and the whole world are ready to welcome 2023 amid such fears. One thing is sure that the National Parliament Elections will not be held in 2023. The Election Commission said that the election will be held in the first week of January 2024. Awami League President, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has started soliciting votes from public meetings in Jessore. She also took the initiative to prepare the party for the elections. Awami League completed the formalities of National Council on December 24 as part of the election preparations where the Awami League Council has re-expressed confidence in the old leadership. Sheikh Hasina did not want to take any risk before the election by changing the leadership. It remains to be seen how the almost unchanged leadership will handle the anti-movement and elections. However, the ruling Awami League is overconfident after its 'miraculous' victory in the 2018 elections. That streak continued till the end of 2022. Awami League did not take anyone from the 14 parties or the Grand Alliance in the 2019 ministerial meeting as they were overconfident. Now there is no Grand Alliance, 14 parties are now alive only on paper. The truth is, this alliance is the ICU. But Awami League has no concern or worry about it. There is no initiative to strengthen the 14 party, rather some leaders of Awami League consider them as orphans and refugees. This time, the Awami League showed overconfidence in the council as well. That is why Awami League did not make major changes in the central leadership. Talking to most of the Awami League leaders, they seem quite light and carefree. They think that Awami League will win again like in 2014 or 2018. Most of the leaders of Awami League are dreaming and hoping for staying in power for the fourth time in a row. There is a deep-rooted idea among the leaders of the Awami League, that the election take place in time whether BNP comes to the election or not. Underestimating the opposition. Not caring the negative attitude of the western countries including the United States. An indifference coldness is visible among some of the leaders in the Awami League over the party's internal strife and lack of regard for the sacrifices of the grassroots. Not only indifference, but also a fierce mentality of disciplining the opposing views has spread even the leaders of the Awami League. A senior citizen was distributing an anti-government leaflet a few days ago. Suddenly a party leader of Awami League slapped him. Such unwanted hoolism is not ideal of Awami League. But none of the leaders of Awami League protested that action. ‘Modesty’ has disappeared from many of the Awami League. Some think that this power of Awami League is eternal. No one can ever overthrow the Awami League. If you ask them, how will the Awami League come to power in the fourth term? Almost all the Awami League leaders will give only one answer, "Sheikh Hasina will do something." Most of the Awami League leaders can't tell the development of the last 14 years properly in front of the people. Very few leaders are as humble as Sheikh Hasina. Most of the Awami League leaders do not have the urge to be accountable to the people. They even consider the party’s grassroots a problem. Many central leaders do not even pick up the phone call of a village worker. These elite leaders think that Sheikh Hasina alone will handle all the disasters. Alone will bring Awami League back to power. This thought has been ingrained in their minds after the 2014 and 2018 elections. If Sheikh Hasina has to do everything alone, then why so many ministers, leaders and so many members of parliament? How many ministers and leaders are working to brighten up the image of the party? Besides Sheikh Hasina, how many people are trusted by the people? These questions will come up next year. Awami League must face this question. Otherwise, Awami League will face a difficult situation in 2023. The 'shame' that Awami League received in Rangpur on December 27, may have to face a more difficult situation in the future. Awami League candidate Hossain Ara Lutfa Dalia came forth in Rangpur city election. The Jatiya Party candidate's main opponent is not the Awami League, but the Islamic Movement. Even Awami League, which was in turmoil in 1979, was not in such a predicament like in Rangpur. Awami League did not get such bad results in the army-controlled elections in 1979. In that election, to fulfil the wish of Zia, a military hero, there were a total of 23 seats in Greater Rangpur district. Despite extensive rigging Military dictator Zia could not defeat Awami League in 4 seats. Awami League came second in the remaining 19 seats. Ershad came to power and elevated the subdivisions to districts. 19 districts increased to 64. On May 7, 1986, the third parliamentary election was held under Ershad. In that election, there were 6 seats in Rangpur. Ershad's Jatiya Party lost to Awami League in 3 seats despite extensive rigging. Awami League candidate Anisul Haque Chowdhury won Rangpur-2 seat. Shah Abdur Razzak in Rangpur-4 seat and HN Ashiqur Rahman in Rangpur-5 seat. Rangpur was the stronghold of Awami League in politics after 75. People of Rangpur have a different passion and love for the party, especially because it is the in-laws of the Awami League president. After the fall of Ershad and his arrest in 1990, the political scenario of Rangpur changed. Emotion prevails over logic. Residents of Rangpur voted for the Langol (plow) symbol to save the 'Rangpur’s Son' from execution. Since then, Rangpur has been Ershad's base. Jatiya Party base. But after Jatiya Party Awami League is the strongest in Rangpur. Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury was elected from a seat in Rangpur (Peerganj). Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi became Member of Parliament from another seat. Ershad did nothing for Rangpur compared to the development that has taken place in Rangpur in the last 14 years. Two heavyweight leaders could not build an organization in Rangpur. Flatterers, sycophants and opportunists have devoured the organization. New leadership did not develop. To come forth in city elections is a result of that. I know, many Awami League leaders who despise everything will say, it does not matter. We let Jatiya Party win this one. Rangpur city election has proved that the government is serious about conducting free, fair and impartial elections. They will say so may such things to hide the real problem. But the Rangpur results need to be analyzed properly. Why did the party in power for three consecutive terms drowned in shame in Rangpur? If the Awami League does not conduct a proper and credible analysis of Rangpur disaster, then more surprises await them in 2023. Analyzing the results of Rangpur, it can be seen that Awami League's rebel candidate Latifur Rahman Milon got 33 thousand 883 votes. Adding the votes of Milan and Dalia, Awami League came second in Rangpur (56 thousand votes). Rangpur was a disaster because Awami League was divided. But is this division only in Rangpur? No, this division is everywhere. In all the local government elections, including Union Parishad elections, Upazila elections, Municipal elections, the countrymen have seen the appalling form of division of Awami League all over the country. Awami League is the opponent of Awami League. Ministers and MPs fielded 'My Man' as an independent candidate. Again, in protest against the nomination of an ineligible controversial candidate, the sacrificed leader of the grassroots has become a candidate against the boat symbol. The fire of rebellion has spread everywhere. The past committee of Awami League has shown endless failure and incompetence in suppressing this rebellion. It was announced that there will be no pardon for those who will candidates against the boat. They will be banned for life from the party. But before the council they were declared 'Amnesty'. In other words, the message has spread to the grass roots that standing against the party is not a crime. This is what encouraged Milon to stand in Rangpur. Surely he has a godfather in the team. So what will this divided Awami League do in the next election? This question came to the fore after the Rangpur elections. Grassroots leaders and workers were enthusiastic before the council this time. They were optimistic. They thought, new leadership will come and there will be a place to talk about the problems and crises of the grassroots. The real Awami League, battered by hybrids and intruders, will have a place to air their grievances. But the old leadership has been re-established at the center as well. Likewise, the dispute between the infiltrators, hybrids, rajakars transformed into Awami League and the renegade, tested, hard-time fighters has also been continued in the council. Who knows where this dispute will stand next year? A few leaders of Awami League informed that many of the protest fighters of 75 have silently wrapped themselves up. Many Awami League workers tortured in October 2001 still weep in despair. The Jamaat-Shibir who burnt their houses are now the big leaders of Awami League. When the reformist leader of 1-11 is resettled in the Presidium, where will the workers who chased him flee? This council could not find a way to remove the intra-conflict disorder that had infected the Awami League. Instead, it tried to hide the wound. Awami League will have to pay for this in the future.

 

Another issue came to fore in Rangpur Election. It is important to select qualified candidates in any election. When Hossain Ara Lutfa Dalia was nominated by Awami League, many people said that Awami League gave such a candidate to gift Rangpur City Corporation to Jatiya Party. After the 2018 elections, popularity and public acceptance in the selection of candidates started to get ignored. They are nominating whoever they like. Like scoring a goal in an empty field, that candidate will win either unopposed or by force. Such a tendency can be seen in the Awami League. But the new Election Commission surprised the Awami League by canceling Gaibandha by-election. This was a clear message by the Election Commission. Whether BNP will participate in the next election is the next issue. But the Awal Commission has given the signal that the 2024 election will not be like the 14 or 18 election. Awami League leaders and workers knows the condition of MP’s very well. Everyone knows that no MP is in a condition to go to the area to seek votes. Which member was involved in nomination trade is not a secret anymore. Therefore, candidate selection is an important issue in the upcoming elections. But the complacent Awami League is now averse to change. There were no major changes in the 2019 ministerial meeting. Allegations of rampant incompetence against some in this cabinet are well known. The story of corruption by some members of this cabinet is as endless as the story of Arabian Nights. Yet they did not lose their ministry. Because Awami League did not take risks. Did not want to give an opportunity to criticize the opposition. Awami League was averse to change in the district level conferences before the council and door of change in the council is also closed. If the Awami League does not welcome the change in the next parliamentary elections, then it will be at great risk.

 

Rangpur election has proved that if the candidate is not right, the workers will not stand beside him. In the new year, the selection of candidates for the upcoming elections is a big challenge for the ruling party. How Awami League will face this challenge? Whether BNP participates in the elections or not, Awami League will have to prepare for a tough election. If the BNP ultimately insists on a non-partisan, neutral caretaker government, then it must be understood that the BNP is not alone. Behind BNP are some western countries, civil society and influential media. If someone thinks that BNP will not participate in the election and they will be re-elected unopposed like in 2014 then they are living in a fool's paradise. 2023 will be the year of the squid game. Kill or be dead. So the tendency to ignore BNP and challenge the US should be reduced. There is no reason to think the opponent is weak. History does not repeat itself in the same way. Bangladesh will never have an election like 2014.

 

Even if BNP comes to the polls, Awami League will have to fight hard. 2024 election will not be like 2018. The election commission have shown in Gaibandha what they are capable of doing. And it is not impossible for Awami League to end up like Rangpur if a free and fair elections is held.

 

Awami League is running the country for three consecutive terms. The Awami League government has changed the image of Bangladesh in the last 14 years. This is Wednesday (December 28) the dream journey of Metrorail began. In 2008, who would have thought that Bangladesh would have Metrorail, Padma Bridge, Karnaphuli Tunnel. Sheikh Hasina is the shaper of this development. She has pushed the limits of our dreams. But has Awami League done justice to Sheikh Hasina? Sheikh Hasina is not only Awami League but the biggest asset of Bangladesh. But most of the leaders of Awami League are irresponsible and incompetent, we are wasting this wealth by negligence. A section of Awami League is on a mission to make Sheikh Hasina controversial. This is alarming. Awami League must remember that Sheikh Hasina is the biggest brand of Awami League. Awami League is in power today only because of Sheikh Hasina. So they must cooperate Sheikh Hasina. Stand beside her. Follow her instructions. 2023 is important for the current government, Awami League and Bangladesh. Awami League has to walk on a thorny path. No one has seen better than the Awami League about the consequences of arrogance and contempt for the opponent. In 2022, Awami League received the same warning in Rangpur.



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Editor's Mind

Democratic structural reform: Hoaxes form the masters and masons?

Publish: 11:28 AM, 24 Dec, 2022


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Udayan, Nabarun, Soviet Women - these were some names of teenage excitement. Names of some emotions and love. Excellent print, neat and clean some magazines. These magazines came from the distant Soviet Union (now Russia). As a child I was amazed. Each magazine had a lot to teach. The organization of the magazines was so neat that one could not ignore these magazines. At that time, Russian fables were published in every issue of Udayan. Each fable contained a teaching message. One such Russian fable came to mind today. A man decided to repair his dilapidated house. He spoke to a craftsman to repair the house. The craftsman saw the house. The roof is leaking. The floor of the house froze when the ice entered through that leak. Cracks in walls, broken windows. With these comes the cold wind. The craftsman observed everything and gave an amount of the repair of the house. Seeing this amount, the owner of the house was shocked. Where will he get so many rubles (Russian currency)? The craftsman suggested him to go to the moneylender, take loan and then slowly repay. The landlord found the suggestion was not really bad. So he went to the moneylender. The moneylender said, I can pay the loan, but the loan must be guaranteed. The moneylender said, "Give me your house deed." Take it when the loan is paid off. The landlord agreed and took the loan. So he started fixing the house with the craftsman. Meanwhile the cost keeps increasing. New costs are added. So, the landlord again takes loan from the moneylender. When the repair work of the house was finished, the moneylender also came asking for his money. he landlord said, how can I repay the loan now? I have talked about slowly paying off the debt. But the moneylender won’t listen. At one point, he forcibly evicted the landlord and took possession of the repaired house. The owner of the house now becomes a refugee. This story gives us a very important message and that is not to go beyond your limits. After reading the outline of BNP's state reform, I remembered that Russian fable. BNP will reach out to which moneylender to repair the state? Who will repair this state? BNP's 27-point outline of state reform has two aspects. One is how to implement these 27 points. The other is - what is in the 27 points. 'State repair' is essentially a colonial concept. United Kingdom, France, Portugal unjustly occupied, looted, and grossly insulted civilization and humanity in various countries of the world, and they came up with the theory of 'state repair' to justify their crimes. The British taught 'civilization' to the subcontinent through brutal oppression and torture. After the horrific violence in South Africa, there were calls for state repair. At that time, the United States invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. The US came up with the theory of 'state repair' to heal that wound. The US has spent $120 billion on the State Building Strategic Assistance Program in Afghanistan. Which was basically looted. Mercenary politicians like Hamid Karzai have embezzled hundreds of billions of dollars. In Afghanistan, the theory of 'state repair' has boomeranged. The US, the state repair contractor, has virtually escaped the country. In December 2001, an 'Interim Government' was formed in Afghanistan under the leadership of Hamid Karzai. At that time, Hamid Karzai started the 'structural reform' program under the patronage of the US and BNP’s 'state repair' program is basically the same. A new constitution was drafted in Afghanistan in 2004 through the US-style State Repair Program. Another civil politician, Ashraf Ghani, was elected president in 2014. But in the end, US 'state repair' in Afghanistan failed. In Afghanistan, the United States handed over power to hard-line fundamentalists. After the US invasion of Iraq and Libya, the 'State Repair' program or 'Democratic Structural Reform' came to the fore. These prescriptions were invented in the United States. The United States uses various countries as guinea pigs to test these 'innovations'. After seeing BNP's 27-point state repair program on December 19, many unresolved questions were answered. Why three different statements were made by the United States after the incident in front of the BNP office in Nayapaltan on December 7. Why did Peter D. Haas rush to Shaheen Bagh on the day of Martyred Intellectuals' Day on December 14 after a simple rally at Golap Bagh on December 10? Why did he meet the foreign minister in anger over security? Then the announcement of BNP state repair. Is the United States back to that old game to do what they could not do in Afghanistan? And therefore they are using BNP? Sajedul has been missing for 10 years. Whether he went missing or voluntarily disappeared is under investigation. In the last 10 years, three other ambassadors of the United States served in Bangladesh. Sajedul disappeared during Dan Mozena's time (November 24, 2011 to January 12, 2015). But Mozena did not go to Shaheen Bagh. Dan Mozena did not say anything about Sajedul's disappearance. Marcia Bernicat became the US ambassador to Bangladesh after Mozena. Bernicat was very social. Her presence in various programs was noticeable. Before leaving, she was invited to a dinner at SHUJAN’s editor Badiul Alam Majumdar's house. An unexpected incident occurred there. Later, law enforcement agencies took swift action. Before leaving in November 2018, Bernicat met the Prime Minister. Even at that time, she did not show so much anxiety and restlessness about that incident. Bernicat served in Bangladesh from 2015 to 2018. She never visited Shaheen Bagh. Earl R. Miller took over as ambassador to Bangladesh on November 29, 2018 after Bernicat. Miller served in Bangladesh for more than three years. At that time, he also did not respond to ‘Mayed Dak’. So what happened suddenly that the US ambassador had to rush to Shaheen Bagh? The Golapbagh mission did not bring the desired results, that is why the drama of Shaheen Bagh was staged. Only the victim's family know how it feel when a family member goes missing. Every year the US Department of Justice compiles a list of missing and disappeared persons in that country. 2022 Missing Persons database has also been released. This list shows that more than 600,000 people go missing in the United States every year. About 4 thousand 400 unidentified bodies are recovered every year. More than 6 out of every 100,000 people in the United States go missing each year. In 2021, 521 thousand 705 cases of disappearance were registered in the United States. Out of this, 4 lakh 85 thousand missing cases have been solved. About 36,000 missing persons have not been found. I don't know if the ambassador has any relatives on this long list of missing persons in the United States. Maybe he has, that's why he ran to Shaheen Bagh feeling emotional about the disappearance. But in Bangladesh, " disappearance" is like a hide and seek story. I heard for a long time that Harris Chowdhury is missing. BNP leaders also gave a strong statement on this. But after his natural death it was discovered that he living in Bangladesh but with different name and identity. Harris Chowdhury died and proved that he was not missing. Former ward commissioner and BNP leader Quayum is one of the accused in the murder of Italian citizen Cesare Tavella. After the assassination of Cesare Tavella, he fled the country. It was then said that the former ward commissioner has been disappeared. His workers held a rally in Badda. Now he is traveling in London, Malaysia, Singapore. Some say that he is traveling from country to country as Tarek Zia's cashier. Another big issue was created over BNP leader Salahuddin Ahmed. Later he was 'discovered' in India. Farhad Mazhar wanted to become the main character of this Disappearance Drama but instead his 'foreignness' got exposed in front of the nation. Thus the list of missing is getting shorter. 136 to 76. Now it has reached 17 people. There is definitely a political motive behind the way in which this is being lamented.

 

The 'Mayer Dak' organization is controversial. This organization was formed with the support and patronage of two political parties. Disappearance is unexpected. It is not desirable for a single person to go missing in a free state. Extrajudicial killing of even a one human being is unfortunate. Again, trying to get political advantage by arranging the drama of disappearance is even worse than that. 'Mayer Dak' is cheaply politicizing the alleged disappearances. It has now become an organ and affiliate of BNP and Jamaat. He must have pondered in private whether Peter Haas had violated diplomatic norms and etiquette by going to Shaheen Bagh at the invitation of such a politically biased organization. However, after BNP's state reform outline, we easily understood the real reason behind the Shaheen Bagh campaign. So does the United States want to establish the regime of Hamid Karzai in this country? Why is there so much worry about democracy and human rights in this country? In 1975 Agoni Booster was the US Ambassador to Bangladesh. What he did in the heinous massacre of August 15 is well documented in Lawrence Lifschultz's 'Bangladesh: The Unfinished Revolution' and Anthony Mascarnhas' 'A Legacy of Blood'. So 'human rights' appear to the US in different forms in different countries, at different times. They have a purpose behind it. The United States wants to inspect the repair of the state of Bangladesh. This is why they have so many human rights practices lately. But the ironic thing is that this state reform formula made by the civilized and western countries is being tried to be implemented by a political party which itself will need to be dissolve to implement it. Wondering how? Let's compare the 27 points and BNP's past activities side by side. In the first phase of 27 points of BNP, constitution reform commission has been mentioned. It states that 'all unreasonable, controversial and undemocratic constitutional amendments and changes shall be reviewed and repealed or amended.' Alas, Seleucus. By the hands of those who violated the Constitution of 72, they will now reform the 'Constitution Commission'! Zia came to power and removed secularism and socialism from the constitution. This autocratic dictator repealed the ban on religious politics. Gave opportunity to rehabilitate the defeated power of 71 in politics. This BNP destroyed the basic spirit of the Bangladesh state through the fifth amendment of the constitution. Today they talk about canceling the undemocratic provisions of the Constitution! In 2001, the BNP-Jamaat alliance came to power and amended the constitution to make a caretaker head of government. In 1981, the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution made Justice Sattar a candidate for the post of President. But now they care so much about the constitution. What a joke! The second of the 27 points of BNP is the establishment of 'Rainbow Nation'. It says the establishment of an inclusive state on the basis of Bangladeshi nationalism against the politics of 'violence' and 'revenge'. Will the BNP apologize to the nation for the killing of Colonel Taher? Will Zia express regret for the thousands of army officers and soldiers he killed to stay in power? The 21 August 2004 grenade attack led by Begum Zia and Tarek Zia is the most horrific example of political revenge. Before the Rainbow Nation, Is BNP willing to stand before the nation transparently? Are they going to admit the fact that, they have made mistakes and won’t repeat them again? What explanation will BNP give for the terrorist violence they conducted to eliminate the political opponents on the election night of October 1, 2001? The third point in BNP's state reform agenda is the establishment of a caretaker government. Then BNP must explain in front of the nation why it made such a shameless attempt to make KM Hasan the head of the caretaker government. Why did they destroy the whole system by making Dr Yazuddin the head of the caretaker government despite being the President? The fourth clause of the 27 clauses talks about establishing the balance of power between the President and the Prime Minister. BNP was in power when the country returned to parliamentary democracy in 1991. Why did not they balance the power of the Prime Minister and the President back then? Why did the BNP leaders spoil the dignity of this highest constitutional post by making a Razakar the President? After Dr. Badruddoza Chowdhury became the President, was not the title of 'President' disrespected by the way BNP treated him? In the state reform framework, the BNP has announced that no one can serve as president and prime minister more than twice. No one can be president of Bangladesh more than twice in a row. The Prime Minister is the leader of the majority party in the Parliament. There is no such provision in India and even in the UK that no one can be prime minister more than twice. Because it is against the parliamentary spirit. This formula was first discovered in Bangladesh in 2007 during one-eleven. This theory was presented to eliminate Awami League President Sheikh Hasina and BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia from politics. The then general secretary of BNP late Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan presented the reform proposal in a formal press conference. Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, senior joint general secretary of BNP, gave an excellent statement against this. He said, "Such strange reform proposals are for depoliticization and implementation of minus formula."

 

Did the BNP leaders accept Mannan Bhuiyan's formula? Did they actually expel Begum Zia from politics by announcing this outline? Because if this outline is implemented, Begum Zia will never be able to become the prime minister. None of the points from 6 to 27 of the outline belong to BNP. BNP manifesto, many of its clauses are in conflict with the 19 points made at the time of its establishment. For example, BNP's manifesto mentions the establishment of Islamic values. However, in the 16th point of the outline, the secular principle of 'Religion belongs individual, state belongs to everyone' is mentioned. No document of BNP till date has accepted 'secularism' as a state principle. Clause 19 states that 'no terrorist activities shall be tolerated within the territory of Bangladesh'. Such a statement was obviously imported to please India. But such a statement would have been acceptable if the BNP had given a reasonable explanation for the 10 trucks of weapon. The weapon was brought for the Indian separatists during the BNP-Jamaat coalition government. In this way, a step-by-step postmortem of the BNP outline can be done. It can be easily understood that BNP has announced a 'system' given by Civils and the West without even looking into it. Therefore, this formula of repairing the state does not belong to BNP and the repairman will not be BNP - that is for sure.

 

The United States sponsored the radical Taliban to drive the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan. Gave them money and weapons. Later, they called the Taliban as terrorists and fought against them. Now those who want to oust the Awami League using the BNP, which is controlled by the right-wing semi-radical Jamaat in Bangladesh, actually want to make Bangladesh a Taliban state. Wants to make Bangladesh an Afghanistan. The State Reform Outline is a message of that desire. 



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