Dhaka, Bangladesh
Politics back into snide rhetoric

Politics back into snide rhetoric

Now becoming triangular dingdong

News Special A latest flare-up in streets all but calmed through an apparent counteroffensive, politicians now resumed their snide rhetoric against one another, involving movement, plots and polls. Ruling Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader said Friday their political archrivals in BNP now got on a smear campaign having failed in movement. "Fakhrul sahibs have failed to stand in the street even for nine minutes in the last nine years. They tried to board quota movement, then safe-road movement. But all proved a damp squib," said Quader, also the road-transport minister. His quips came hot on the heels of comments from the BNP about government actions against the students and other parties, moves for the upcoming general election and so. "The government suffers from BNP-phobia," said Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, his counterpart in the former ruling party, BNP. Another front opened on the political front, with a third stream coming up in the scene. A number of ruling-party leaders Friday directed their invective against Dr Kamal Hossain and some civil-society figures, alleging that they were plotting to overthrow the government. Especially Law Minister Anisul Haque at a function in his hometown Brahmanbaria made a fire-spitting criticism of Dr Kamal Hossain, who Thursday criticized government actions said, 'The political situation will be changing fast.' He and other ministers and AL leaders mentioned a recent function attended by the US ambassador and local elites vocal on politics and other state affairs. On Friday, BNP demanded changes in the draft Road Transport Bill approved by the cabinet in consultation with experts to ensure safe roads as per demands of the students. "All stakeholders, but the transport owners, turned down the draft Road Transport Bill the cabinet approved as it won't help fulfill the students' demand for safe roads," said the BNP secretary-general, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir. Speaking at a press conference at the party's Nayapaltan central office, he further said, "We demand the government reform the bill through discussions with those working for ensuring road safety to implement the students' demands." On Monday, the cabinet approved the draft Road Transport Bill with a provision of maximum 5 years' jail for any death or serious injuries caused by reckless or negligent driving, while death penalty for intentional murder by driving. The approval was given at the weekly meeting of the Cabinet held with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair amid the student movement demanding safe road. Justifying their demands for reform in the bills, Fakhrul said there are neither any specific guidelines in the bill to avoid killings or unexpected incidents caused by reckless driving nor any provision of stern action for it. "Everybody knows the accident takes place for the crime committed by drivers. But it's the responsibility of owners to appoint drivers, maintain the fitness of vehicles, pay drivers' salary and put them on necessary rest. There's no provision of taking any action against the owners for their negligence in the bill," he observed. The BNP leader said there is also no provision kept in the bill to take action against those BRTA officials who indulge in corruption and irregularities. "Besides, the High Court's observations in this regard are not given importance in the bill." Fakhrul came down hard on the government for what he said arresting and torturing the students who waged the movement for safe roads and demanded their immediate release. He accused ruling-party men of attacking students during their demonstrations, and urged the government to arrest the attackers. "We would like to clearly say that BNP had no involvement in violence during the student movement. We demand the arrest of those terrorists wearing masks and helmets brutally attacked journalists and demonstrators in presence of police," the BNP leader said. He trashed Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader's comment that BNP-Jamaat activists attacked their party president's Dhanmondi office and students, saying even any "mad" does not believe it. Fakhrul said their party extended their support to the student movement as it was justified one. "If our support is an offence, then the Prime Minister and police officials also committed the same crime." About the rumours on social media during student movement, he said it is happening as the government is obstructing presenting the truth and repressing those who are speaking the truth. "If you want to check rumours, you will have to allow people to talk and present the truth." He alleged that the ruling party always remains in fear of BNP. "Awami League gets panicked hearing the name of BNP like people suffering from rabies fear water. That's why it (AL) sees BNP's involvement in every incident. It seems to me they (AL leaders) can't sleep at night out of the fear of BNP." The BNP leader criticised the government for arresting Drik Gallery Managing Director Shahidul Alam for what he said giving an interview with Al Jazeera Television. "Now people have no right to talk or express their views. The government is regulating the media and freedom of expression as it's an unelected one." BNP standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan and Nazrul Islam Khan were among others present. On the other side of the divide, the Awami League General Secretary, Obaidul Quader, Friday said BNP and its Secretary-General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir have now become reckless like whimsical drivers after having failed to wage a movement. "They couldn't launch a movement even for nine minutes in the last nine years," he said while talking to reporters after a visit to Dhaka-Tangail highway in Chandra Trimor area of Gazipr city. The Road Transport and Bridges Minister said BNP failed to cash in on the quota-reform movement and then the student movement. "Even they saw no success depending on the student movement for safe roads," he said. Getting frustrated after having failed to wage any movement, BNP is now conspiring against the government to rejuvenate its leaders and activists, he said. The minister said there is a huge rush of people in BRTA offices now for taking and renewing licences. "The government has taken a move to launch mobile banking for reducing public sufferings while depositing money for taking services from the BRTA." (Inputs taken from agencies, media reports)

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