Published:  12:31 AM, 01 January 2019

A new dawn has ushered in

A new dawn has ushered in

A vote revolution with smiling faces of voters betided on 30 December in the national polls. Bangladesh Awami League is now poised to win a landslide victory in the elections. It is a significant victory for Bangladesh's democracy, secularism, massive development works and true spirits of our glorious Liberation War of 1971. And definitely, it has ushered in a new era in Bangladesh.Many foreign and local election observers were allowed to monitor this voting revolution in Bangladesh. International monitors have largely praised the conduct of the election.

A loud and familiar chant would soon ring out across the country when the newly elected 11th parliament will go into session. "Joy Bangla! Joy Bangabandhu!" the crowds will roar in unison, echoing the ruling AL party's election campaign slogan for PM Sheikh Hasina to get in there for the 4th time in the hope that Bangladesh's premier will deliver a new era of democracy, prosperity and peace. She has reached out to the voters and urged the nation to look forward and work towards helping the country's economy grow.

People hope the vision of a new and prosperous Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, we all want is a shared one and transcends political party lines. As would be PM afresh, we hope she will pledge to act fairly and impartially, without fear or favor for people of all classes and of all religions. We believe she could see all the mistakes that she made in the past and she will learn many things from the past history and run the state affairs aright. She now has become the mother figure of all of us as people of this land so we must put our trust in her.

We are all Bangladesh's people; what unites us is greater than what could ever divide us. Reprobated rulers - Gen Zia, Gen Ershad and Begum Zia divided us by rehabilitating the defeated forces of 1971 in every nook and corner of the country only to serve well their fiddling gains.

Through the engagement and re-engagement policy, the new government is opening a new chapter in our relations with the world, underpinned by mutual respect, shared principles and common values.The 11th parliamentary polls have marked a turning point in Bangladesh's democracy.

The would be PM has repeatedly pledged to lead Bangladesh to a more democratic era.Now, we believe, we are promised a new dawn; the potential, under PM Sheikh Hasina's party command, that a warm light will shine into the dark corners of society, banishing exploitation, joblessness, corruption and crime. We hope this will not be a delusive dawn at a time of gathering darkness. The sign of administrative dysfunction; of an inability to act in a coherent and holistic way, if any, will soon go away.

Celebrated journalist and columnist Syed Badrul Ahsan has aptly said, "This morning, we celebrate our collective democratic spirit, for we have, despite every odd and every impediment, upheld the cause of democracy and have not allowed the process of elected government to be disturbed or upended by extra-constitutional means or thwarted by sinister plots hatched by elements lurking in the dark.

This morning we will vote for more of democracy, for the rule of law to underpin our society, for parliament to be a full and vibrant platform for expressions of popular aspirations, for the executive to be the embodiment of every citizen's hopes and dreams, for the judiciary to inform us that the machinery of justice stands ready to strengthen and support us when assaults are made on the liberties we enjoy in our democracy.

This morning, we vote for a new dawn of promise. This morning, we vote for strong, purposeful, committed, accountable and secular leadership. This morning, we wait for a beautiful end to a day wrapped in great expectations."

The exploited should join together to improve the lot of each and all. And in a Bangladesh context, the gaps at all levels are much greater and probably make the need and difficulty for united action greater still. But something radical is surely required when some elementary facts are taken into account.

Because, far from any sign of a new dawn, the majority of Bangladesh's people face the prospect of a chilly, lengthening and stormy economic and social night. These, and similar facts, should top the agenda, if the government's promised economic developments are finally staged. Out of these may come some sound suggestions that may indicate, if not a new dawn, at least a glimmer of hope. We should wake up to this Bangladesh as well.   

There is a strong argument to be made for increasing public sector employment and the scope is too big here. This could be achieved by filling or creating, posts for core front line staff and for many more positions.The two principal pledges Awami League included in its manifesto are 'My Village-My Town' and 'Power of Youth-progress of Bangladesh.'

According to sources at AL on its election manifesto, Awami League have released a pro-youth election manifesto giving priority to balanced development of the country, quality education and employment opportunities for youth. According to the leaders, AL is focusing on the new voters in this election as they can bring about a major change in the election. The 2018 manifesto titled "Bangladesh on March towards Prosperity" focuses on 33 sectors to be dealt with two strategic plans -- the SDG and Delta Plan 2100.

Publicizing a manifesto for AL was very important. Doing so serves several purposes: it cements a political party's intention and creates accountability for project leaders and participants; it builds excitement and energy for the initiative; it creates awareness with their voters, who can show their support for the ideas or cause; and the conversations that occur are an important spark in making the future they want a reality. And all these bechanced through this ballot revolution. We know PM Sheikh Hasina and her party's strengths, we see the best in her and AL and we are eager to live out the future they have designed together through their election pledges.

If we tot up, we must say whether political priorities will be dictated by economic motives is a matter which remains open to debate. We can only hope that heed is paid to the outstanding issues of good governance which are restraining Bangladesh from embarking on an inclusive economic development path, dictated by solid, transparent political commitments.

This country stands at the cross-roads of history, after forty-seven years of independence. Forty-seven years is a long time to change the face and fortunes of a country and its people to a greater extent. In all these years, for ordinary people in Bangladesh, our political leadership has always given them reasons for hope, as well as disappointment.

The next five years could be singularly consequential for our country. They bring challenge as well as opportunity. For all the past shortcomings in the past, if the AL's manifestos are to be believed, people cannot be blamed for having the audacity to hope for more peace, progress and prosperity for the nation, it's for all classes of people and it is for people of all religions on the same scale for the next five years. She has enlivened people to make a difference in whatever way they can.

To be the change-maker she wants, to be kind to everyone, and to always be ready with a hug, but most of all she has taught us to light up every day with a smile! She has never backed down from a challenge. We admire her perseverance; she always has kept her head up during the hardest times. We look up to her because she has the strength to never give up hope. She is a composer of politics in the landscape of Bangladesh.

Because of her unflagging work for her people to improve their lot, many international observers have also hailed her as the modern day Joan of Arc.  She may be called the "Idol of the Masses." It is aptly said, "If Rabi Thakur is the poet of thinking, reflection and thought, if Bangabandhu is the poet of politics, then Sheikh Hasina is the poet of development."

Premier Sheikh Hasina personifies the unbeatable spirit. Vision 2021 program of Awami League has envisioned turning Bangladesh into a "Sonar Bangla" - Golden Bengal - as dreamt by the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, has now become a reality.

Despite developments, many problems are still prevalent in the country which calls for dire emergency needed actions for Bangladesh to master over them including all aspects of the environment, such as, climate change, deforestation, water-logging and an increase in CO2 emissions.

Corruption is a breeding ground in the country. Instead of lessening, it is growing day by day. Corruption reduces the effectiveness of efforts to reduce poverty and assist growth. A vigorous and credible program is needed to combat corruption in Bangladesh.

The spread of power away from the centre to local branches or governments is not taken as yet by Hasina's government. So, everything is centralized to the Metropolitan Dhaka City. Dhaka is now an unfit or unsuitable to live in it. Education is not trade.

It is a cardinal necessity for the nation as a whole to develop it in tune with time in the spirit to cope up with other developed nations. Many science and technology based educational institutions for quality educations are not grown-up as expected during the 10 years' rule of Hasina. Road safety, traffic gridlock, water-logging, etc. are not taken proper care.

These state of difficulties centre round the Metropolitan Dhaka City which need to have been resolved long before, but these are no-hopers for the government. Despite some large projects being implemented, establishing more train lines, fly-overs, roads, by-pass roads have failed to draw the attention of Hasina's government.

In short, to become a middle-income country by 2021, Bangladesh has a long way to go. Its track record of growth rather makes people hopeful of achieving the status. Bangladesh showed significant development in many sectors that need to properly manage and nurture. To ensure growth, and faster improvement, there's no alternative to robust investments, development of manpower and increased productivity.

One may hope to address the above-noted predicaments shall find a place in AL's would be government. Faced with urgent, economic and political problems, over the next five years, she is likely to have a challenging path to navigate in her bid to lead the country into a new era.

But she has that much of courage and powerfulness like her great father to sail through her exams.And Bangladesh's unbeatable butt in the direction of development shall continue since AL is now set to form the new government sooner. Joy Bangla. Joy Bangabandhu.

The writer is a senior citizen, writes on politics, political and human-centered figures, current and international affairs

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