The imprisonment of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has brought a radical change in the behavior of Awami League (AL) leaders except for the party president and current Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina. Most of the AL leaders have taken it for granted that they would come to power for another term. And therefore, they have proved to be boastful, incurious, and sometimes thin-skinned. They have developed a tendency to demean the common people and often respond with a very cold shoulder to the party workers. To put it briefly, AL is now ‘overconfident’. They are pondering over the prospect of becoming a lawmaker for another term. Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi, the first and only female prime minister of India, once said, ‘Self-confidence is good, but the overconfidence is frightening.’
Reviewing the history of AL reveals the tragic consequences of AL for assuming ‘overconfidence’. In 1974-75, many have warned Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman of Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad, but Bangabandhu did not pay heed to them. The Intelligence Agency of India also warned him about the military coup, but Bangabandhu could not consider it as true as he did not believe that people of this country would ever create a pernicious plot against him. He even rejected the idea of shifting to Bangabhaban leaving his unsafe house of Dhanmondi 32. He along with AL and people of this country had to pay a hefty price for his overconfidence.
During the election of 1991, we saw another overconfident AL. The leaders started discussing about distributing the portfolios of the ministries when the election was yet to be held. On the other hand, BNP could not even announce 300 names for the 300 constituencies. AL considered the election to be a formality only as the victory of AL was almost certain. But, AL faced a landslide defeat in that election. BNP came to power shocking everyone.
In 2001, AL handed over the power in a peaceful manner for the first time in the history of the country. Between 1996-2001, the country has gone through huge development undoubtedly. Therefore, AL did not think that they would face a defeat in the general election of 2001. Even when the then chief adviser of caretaker government Latifur Rahman started to act viciously with AL, it remained confident of victory. Moreover, most of the leaders said that the opposition party would create a scene after the election if we do not keep them happy. But the general election of 2001 surprised the entire nation including AL as BNP came to power.
Once again AL seems to be very confident. Many leaders of AL believe that BNP is a ruined and disorganized political party. No matter whatever it (BNP) does, it cannot win the election. Many of them want to relish the moment as they have developed many sectors of the country. Will this ‘overconfidence’ of AL bring a major disaster for the party? The hardcore supporters of AL have not forgotten the past and therefore they fear any little sign of overconfidence. The founding father of the nation teaches us to respect and consider the people of this country as friends. But, many AL leaders now consider themselves as lords. For this, AL might pay a hefty price in future. So, it is necessary to be cautious when there is time. Considering the opposition weak would be the biggest mistake.
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