Significance of US Undersecretary Uzra Jaya’s Bangladesh visit. By Indrajit Kumar

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What he said in the interview given to the news agency UNB, the balloon of excitement of many has leaked. He called for ‘rejecting violence and supporting a truly inclusive, peaceful, free and fair democratic process’. He said, ‘Let us let the people of Bangladesh decide’. He made it clear that the US’s goal is to support free, fair and peaceful elections in Bangladesh. He emphasized, “We are not a party to any political party”. In the interview, Uzra Zeya clarified that the US visa policy is to support the promise of free, fair and peaceful elections announced by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. On the question of caretaker government and boycott, he dismissed it as an ‘internal matter’ of the people of Bangladesh. 

Recently, some tension was created in the political arena of the country around the visit of Uzra Jair, the Under Secretary of the United States of America. The efforts of two political parties who have no faith in the people of the country to create tides in the dead river is noteworthy. The scene of complacency and visible leaps and bounds among the so-called reformist leaders of the parasharyi Bhuifond parties became a matter of humor for many. Some people with a ‘colonial’ lordly mind were eagerly waiting to voluntarily accept the servitude of the neo-colonial powers. There was a little worry on the foreheads of the opportunity seekers who were sheltered in the government party. 

The various activities of the diplomatic circles behind the scenes created a lot of curiosity in the minds of the general public. Common voters were apprehensive that if foreigners decided who would come to power, what would their votes be worth? Ending these speculations, Under Secretary Ujra Jaya’s much talked about visit has come to an end. There is a hair-raising analysis going on in Buddhist circles about who got what. It is possible that it will continue until the next election. 

What has been going on for the past few days amounts to disrespecting the independence of the country. Those who are in the diplomatic missions of different countries in our country, they are our friends according to diplomatic terms in terms of relations. Because, there is no diplomatic relationship with the enemy state. It is customary for them to work to establish rapprochement between the governments and peoples of the states, and to define economic and diplomatic relations. Their code of conduct is governed by diplomatic etiquette. They are our friends, not our Lord. But let us forget these things. We behave in such a way that their grandfathering increases. 

How low we can go for power by lobbying the ambassador’s house! If we have any complaint against the government, it is appropriate to tell it to the people in a public meeting. The people are the final decision makers. It is alleged that because of the law and order forces, the injustice of the government cannot be protested. The question is, is the fortress of the Awami League stronger than the Bastille fortress? If Awami League is doing anti-people work, if there is such level of public support for BNP, why Awami League will not be possible for any government to suppress fair movement and protest with police. 

And if that is not the case, it must be understood that the government has the active support of the people behind it. A government without public support cannot survive for long. It can be said that the last two elections of Sheikh Hasina government may not have been 100% good elections. However, this government was formed through a democratic process. Participation of all major political parties would certainly make the elections more competitive and increase public participation. If there is a bad election, those who did not participate in the election should also take the responsibility. Going to the polls is not a guarantee of coming to power. But if you want to go to power, you must go to the election. Even if he loses the election, democracy will win. Even if the power is not in the hands of any special party, the power will be in the hands of the people. This is how democracy will be strong.

After the announcement of America’s visa policy, many leaders of political parties threw themselves and demanded the visa policy for their own party. Only Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has behaved prudently like a sovereign ruler. He gave a presidential speech trusting in the sovereign power of the people. Didn’t talk to anyone. He was as determined as his father. His position has taken the status of the people of Bangladesh much higher in the world. Sheikh Hasina herself has announced a free, fair and impartial election. He would not have called for a foreign observer if he had had any trouble. 

Sheikh Hasina knows very well that it is not possible for anyone to cover up rigged elections in this era of active social media. He also knows that the people are his main source of trust. No foreign power can put him in power or depose him. This absolute trust in the people has greatly increased the support of the people for him. Now if there is a public opinion poll as to who do you want to see as the Prime Minister and which party do you want to see in power, then there will be more votes for Sheikh Hasina as an individual than for Awami League as a party. Awami League as a party will also get the benefit of this acceptance of Sheikh Hasina personally. 

BNP’s biggest problem is that they are unable to say in their speech who will be the Prime Minister if they are elected due to legal and family complications. Apparently those who are in leadership do not have the steering to run the team. So people are in dire straits thinking who will vote for the BNP and why, their ‘past record’ or what. The news of the arrival of US Under Secretary Uzra Jaya sent shockwaves through BNP’s cadre-supporters. He held discussions in various quarters of the government during his four-day visit. 

He visited the Rohingya refugee camp, the biggest example of Awami League government’s protection of human rights in the world. Regarding the meeting with the Home Minister, Uzra Zeya himself tweeted that Bangladesh has done the biggest act of human rights by sheltering the Rohingya people. Deeply observed the current political situation. What he said in an interview given to the news agency UNB at the end of the tour has deflated many people’s euphoria. He called for ‘rejecting violence and supporting a truly inclusive, peaceful, free and fair democratic process’. 

He said, ‘Let us let the people of Bangladesh decide’. He made it clear that the US’s goal is to support free, fair and peaceful elections in Bangladesh. He emphasized, “We are not a party to any political party”. In the interview, Uzra Zeya clarified that the US visa policy is to support the promise of free, fair and peaceful elections announced by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. He dismissed the issue of caretaker government and boycott as an ‘internal matter’ of the people of Bangladesh. 

During his visit to Ujra Jaya, he supported Sheikh Hasina’s policy on the election issue. Although many are waiting for his ‘Dadagiri’ and whatever he has in mind, he has instead shown respect for the sovereignty of the people of Bangladesh. In short, the morale of the government has increased on the question of elections. BNP was under the opposite pressure. Their frustration did not go unnoticed. BNP Secretary General said in a public meeting in Noakhali, ‘Foreigners do not understand, people will bring down the government’. However, on the question of Uzra Jaya’s arrival, BNP said that foreigners are coming because there is no human rights in the country and there is no election environment. 

Uzra Zeya also praised the peaceful assembly of Awami League-BNP in close proximity. On the eve of the elections in Bangladesh, he witnessed such an incident, which he heard the reverse of while sitting in the US. It is true that there is still a long way to go in the development of democratic culture in Bangladesh. Therefore, the news that there is a violent and disenfranchised opposition political party in Bangladesh, which was exaggeratedly presented to the United States or European countries in various media, he saw here with his own eyes, which is a relief for the government. 

A major drawback of some political parties' politics is that they can no longer indulge in political violence, arson, which dominated the 2014 and 2018 elections. Since the caretaker issue is not gaining acceptance, there is no other option open to BNP except to participate in the elections under the current constitutional framework. By systematically participating in the elections, BNP has to prove how fair the elections are held under the Awami League government. In that case, like in 2018, there is no way to withdraw from the polling field in the middle. 

 

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