Sometimes politics of a negative kind and lies make us angry; we forget that lies and conspiracies do not stand for long. But I wonder if the opposition, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), leadership ever thinks of that and looks for quick dividends which make them fools in front of the electorate who are not fanatics or too eager to believe what is thrown at them.
One of their famous anti-India cards has been used repeatedly in the past, and, one of the most silly belief propagated by them is: if the Awami League of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina comes to power then part of Bangladesh, stretching from her district of Feni onwards, will become a part of India.
Their standing line is that the recent Awami League visit to India was to ensure support to win the next elections! All this sounds rather preposterous!
Let me then ask them a question: why did the BNP visit India recently and why did its current acting Chairman, Tarique Rahman, left no stone unturned to build some kind of meaningful relationship with New Delhi after predicting in 2014 that India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi would support them.
Sadly, it boomeranged as New Delhi, wont, by any means, back a party lenient towards religious fanatics and sponsors of terrorism to rule Bangladesh.
Stands to reason, India will be the side of a Bangladesh which upholds and nurtures the secular principles, propagated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her ruling Awami League.
Just after using its anti-India card against the Awami League, a BNP team rushed to India. Are they trying to say it is ok for them to visit the neighbouring country and not by the Awami League?
Are they making India “the chief election commissioner” for Bangladesh? What a shame!
With this double standard, BNP has again proved themselves to be foolish in front of the electorate, showing that they are ready to “sell” anything to New Delhi.
The BNP has undermined Bangladesh by bringing false allegations against the Awami League in the comity of nations and betrayed the people by relinquishing its pledge to be a nationalist political party.
The BNP should stop tarnishing the image of Bangladesh, which has made extraordinary strides in the past 10 years under Sheikh Hasina.
This development has been recognised by the world and, as part of that acknowledgement, Sheikh Hasina joined the G7 meet in Canada.
BNP lost its trusted friend China over the opening of Taiwan’s representative office, allegedly in exchange of “huge financial” benefits.
Sheikh Hasina, on the other hand, started building ties with China while in the opposition between 1991 and 1996.
I Remember doing a story headlined, “Hasina undertakes ice-breaking trip to 1971 foe China” while working for the Agence France-Presse (AFP).
But she never ignored India as a tested and trusted friend while trying to forge strong ties with China.
It may be recalled here that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur displayed his statesmanship ensuring swift departure of the Indian army months after independence.
This was done with his supreme gift for tactful diplomacy. India stood by Bangladesh during the liberation struggle, entering the scene in military capacity in December 71, hastening the defeat of Pakistani invading forces.
Bangabandhu was profoundly thankful to India, promised his loyal friendship to the Indian PM, Indira Gandhi, but gave nothing away that would undermine Bangladesh in any way.
A friend wrote recently in a Dhaka daily “The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) on the other hand, as with most of their political positions, has based its foreign policy in opposition to whatever Awami League has traditionally stood for. This is most starkly demonstrated in their position on India.”
Professor Rounaq Jahan, in her work titled: ‘Political Parties in Bangladesh’ calls this rabid anti-India stance of BNP, which is admittedly a cornerstone of the party as founded by General Ziaur Rahman, a principal characteristic which differentiates Awami League from BNP.
Thus BNP must turn around to positive politics for the country and give up its anti-India and anti-Awami League stance.
Nadeem Qadir is the Roving Editor at The Asian Age and a UN Dag Hammarskjöld fellow.