It was Newton who once said, “We build too many walls and not enough bridges”. Politicians in our county are exactly doing this. Recent reshuffle in the cabinet is unlikely to build bridges between rival political parties. Only noticeable change is emergence of additional number of members from Jatiya Party (JP) in the new cabinet.
Interestingly, Ershad has proven him to be predictably unpredictable. On the one hand, he has most recently sought blessings from Allama Shofi. Upon his arrival from Chittagong, he on the other hand has allowed his party members to join in the new cabinet and committed to take part in the upcoming election.
Possibly, he intended to secure maximum number of ministers possible from Awami League while making contradictory statements for last few months. He is apparently successful in his venture. While JP had only a seat in the immediate-past cabinet, he has somehow secured 7 seats in the so-called all party cabinet.
Apart from JP, JSD is another apparent gainer in the race. No matter how small the party is, they now have secured 2 seats in the cabinet. Both President and Executive President have now become members of cabinet. Executive President of JSD has long been vocal in favour of the stance taken by Grand Alliance and he finally has his reward from PM.
Veteran Rashed Khan Menon has now finally decided to taste the apple as he took oath to become a minister for the first time. Why would he be left behind while comrades from other like-minded parties tried it already? Workers Party President Menon turned down the offer in the month of September last year. However, it was supposedly politburo of the party preventing him to taste the apple.
However, there is little change in the overall scenario. It is still 4-party polls-time cabinet. Previous cabinet has representation from 4 parties as well. Samyabadi Dal General Secretary Dilip Barua had the portfolio of Industries Minister. It was none but technocrat Minister Dilip who once urged Prof Muhammad Yunus and Sir Fazle Hasan Abed to join politics to test their popularity before speaking about the country`s politics. He might have forgotten his own popularity, public support behind him and tried to please the prime minister by blasting the two iconic characters for their suggestions for restoration of caretaker government for peaceful parliamentary polls at a meeting with then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Dhaka.
After having meeting of the two key allies of the grand alliance on October 20, 2013; Awami League General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam said Hasina would be the head of the all-party polls-time government, even if the main opposition BNP opposed it. He also said JP would compete against the AL in the next election if BNP boycotted the polls; otherwise, the AL-led grand alliance would remain intact. Ershad calling a press conference in the very next day vehemently opposed the statement.
Ershad claimed that there was no discussion on whether Jatiya Party would participate in the general election staying with the grand alliance after leaving it. It has now revealed that Ershad did not speak the truth. Ershad continued to juggle until nominating party members for the new cabinet.
Ershad is the political buffoon who proved Ashraful to be correct!
BDST: 1313 HRS, NOV 20