Published: 09:56 AM, 09 August 2022 Last Update: 09:59 AM, 09 August 2022
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir address a rally in front of the patry’s Naya Paltan office in Dhaka on 6 August 2022, protesting the killing of Chattra Dal Bhola unit president Nure Alam.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir address a rally in front of the patry’s Naya Paltan office in Dhaka on 6 August 2022, protesting the killing of Chattra Dal Bhola unit president Nure Alam.Prothom Alo
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) blames the government for the record hike in fuel oil price and simultaneous increase in prices of other essential commodities. BNP leaders think that Bangladesh’s present crisis did not stem from the global crisis of food and energy rather they attribute the country's economic crisis to unbridled corruption and siphoning off the money by the ruling class.
BNP leaders said they will remain vocal against the government on price hikes, and other issues such as enforced disappearance, killing and corruption of the government but would not throw any programmes like hartal or strike yet.
The BNP has chalked out a fresh two-day programme protesting against the fuel price hike and the killing of two leaders in Bhola. The party will organise a demonstration in front of its central office in Dhaka on 11 August and in every district and city office the following day. BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir announced the programme on Monday.
BNP leaders think the global food crisis emanating from the Russia-Ukraine war could have been tackled if the Bangladesh government had the capacity to handle the situation. But the government has taken megaprojects in the name of development and looted money from these projects by increasing the project implementation costs abnormally. The BNP leaders allege that the government looted a whopping Tk 780 billion from the ‘quick rental power plant’ projects alone.
The BNP leaders, in their speeches, are highlighting the corruption of the government. Mirza Fakhrul in his speech on Monday showed a document of the government’s 'money laundering'. He referred to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) record that Bangladesh has exported $270.81 billion in the last seven years but the Bangladesh Bank has a record of export worth $239.96 billion. He asked where the remaining $30.4 billion dollars has gone. “This portrays a massive loot,” the BNP secretary general said.
BNP also thinks that the fuel oil price hike is also a government-induced crisis. They maintain that the government has increased the number of power plants to augment power production. Still, they were completely negligent about extracting gas from local wells which could have supplied the energy needed for production. The government had focused on importing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to help the pro-government businessmen. Now the mass people of the country are bearing the brunt of this wrong policy.
“The global crisis which aroused from the Russia-Ukraine war could have been averted. Bangladesh’s problem lies elsewhere. The crisis in the power sector, energy crisis and economic crisis—all crises resulted from the rampant corruption of the government,” Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told Prothom Alo last night.
BNP leaders maintain that the government has focused on trumpeting the increase in GDP from the very beginning. They have propagated misleading information on development and growth. The experts have been warning the government about these malpractices for a long time but they did not pay any heed to such warnings. They are instead trying to stifle the programs thrown against load shedding and mismanagement in the energy sector by firing bullets.
BNP’s standing committee member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury told Prothom Alo on Monday, “Media has reported $100 billion has been looted and siphoned off the country in last 12 years. Now the reserve is dwindling and the government is trying to save themselves putting the burden on the people.”
The BNP leaders explained why they shun announcing a tougher movement right now. They reasoned that the next election is still one and half years away so biding the time would be a more effective strategy. The BNP does not want to go into direct confrontation with the government right now so as to avoid more cases and attacks. They rather want to focus on keeping the activists buoyant and launch a bigger movement before the next election.
Amir Khasru Mahmud, however, said their movement has already started. The government has killed two in Bhola and beaten leaders-activists of left student organisations in Shahbagh.
The government wants to subdue the movement by such repression but they would not be able to sustain this way, the BNP leader added.