President Waheed has opted for an early election, which is scheduled for September 7. Despite reservations expressed by many political parties, the election process is truly underway that could restore democracy in the country.
It was expected that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Dhaka in September 2011 would transform India–Bangladesh relations. However, this did not happen as India could not sign the Teesta water sharing agreement, the biggest deliverable of the visit. It also made some people brand West Bengal (Paschimbanga) Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as a spoiler.
The war crime trials should be taken to their logical conclusion to create a precedent that will discourage the extremist and radical elements. But the government must also act swiftly to maintain law and order so that the situation is not used by extra-constitutional forces to thwart the whole exercise.
Even as it stands firm on the issue of proceeding with the war crimes trials, the Awami League government should not make the mistake of going for an election without the participation of the main opposition BNP.
The World Bank’s decision to withhold funding for the Padma Bridge embarrassed a government that has been doing reasonable work especially in checking extremism at a time when radicalism is sweeping many parts of the world.
Ershad’s recent visit to India seems to have whetted his political ambition. In the last election he was hoping for the post of president, a ceremonial position in Bangladeshi political set-up; now he has stated openly that he wants to be prime minister after the next elections.