A song became very popular in the nineties. The lyrics were like, ‘Give me a tag, I’m a poor person’. The scene of the song was like this, father and daughter beg in Dhaka and live a very luxurious life with the beg money. Five star hotel eating and drinking, dancing and singing at dance parties – what not!
In the visuals of the song, the father is an ordinary beggar. He takes what he gives. But the girl is of the new age. So a meager four annas or eight annas alms does not feed him. Even when begging at the airport, one does not hesitate to throw away a rupee or two. His demand, beg at the airport in dollars!
The experienced father understood that such a haughty behavior of the girl during begging was not good. But what the new generation listens to the father! At the end, helpless father’s words to his daughter, ‘Eto demag don’t see mago…’! In other words, when the alms bag comes down, there is nothing to worry about.
On December 17, national daily Prothom Alo published a news item in the middle of negotiations for seat settlement with the ruling party Awami League. It is said there, ‘After entering GM Quader’s office (Jatiya Party Chairman’s office in Banani), the media workers tried to talk to him. At this time Japa Secretary General Mujibul Haque requested him to stand and speak for a while. At that time, GM Quader said, ‘I will not take the begging seat.’ Saying this he went to his room.
But at that time Jatiya Party was continuing negotiations with Awami League asking for 50 seats first, then 42 and then 35 seats. On the other hand, Awami League informed about the decision to give concession in 26 seats. Is the number 26 alms to the Jatiya Party? However, the party eventually had to agree to it.
No one outside has said that the Jatiya Party is begging for seats. Party chairman GM Quader himself said. So far, BNP has compared this Jatiya Party’s seat compromise with ‘monkey cake sharing’. This time, the issue of begging came from within the Jatiya Party.
Jatiya Party is not a new party in Bangladesh politics. Hussain Muhammad Ershad, the founder of this party and former military ruler, brought the party to the state power. After Ershad’s death, his brother GM Quader took over as chairman of the party. Everyone is confused about what the team will actually do when. Many people think that the Jatiya Party has no choice but to harass the ruling party. The party is steadily losing popularity with the general public. After the fall of the Ershad government in 1990, the Jatiya Party won 35 seats without the support of anyone. Until 2001, the group had a unique identity. Even in the 2008 elections, the Jatiya Party won almost as many seats as the BNP by joining the Awami League-led grand coalition. That time they could not be an opposition party in Jatiya Sangsad for a while, but they made it clear that Jatiya Party is a factor in politics.
Basically, since then, the National Party has lost its identity. The party’s election victory on its own became uncertain. Detractors said that the party won 34 seats in 2014 due to Awami League. The same situation happened in the 2018 elections. The Seva Party won the 22 seats vacated by the Awami League and served as the opposition party.
The situation is like this – Jatiya Party is discussing how many seats Awami League will win without organizing the organization. The situation is very much – ‘I am winning, I am getting status, so what is the point of struggling?’
By the way, let’s get into a little personal experience. Those who were students of Dhaka University between 2000 and 2007, you will surely find similarities. At that time a woman used to beg in the university campus. There was no way to understand the age of the petite woman. He used to get alms mainly because of his physical build. There was no problem in walking and talking. This woman used to beg in Kala Bhavan, University Library, Hakim Chattwar and Mall Chattwar in the early part of the day. In the afternoon it was seen in TSC, Rokeya Hall and Shamsunnahar Hall area.
The woman was offered to work at home by a woman standing in front of Belal’s well-known tea shop opposite the university library. I and some of my friends were eyewitnesses of the incident while drinking tea there. Remember, the woman’s proposal was to pay Rs 4,000 per month. Apart from this, there was also an offer to provide food, clothing and everything else. Around 2004-2005, this proposal was quite tempting. But the reply came to our surprise that, where he can get 500-600 rupees a day by begging, why should he work at home for such a small salary!
Now the question is – if a GM can become a minister, member of parliament or leader of the opposition party by begging, can make his wife a member of parliament, then what is the need to organize a party or compete and win elections?
Author: Chief News Editor, Digital Division, Independent Television