The two main political parties in Bangladesh have announced a volley of freebies. It will not be long before the discerning citizen starts demanding accountability and model budgets. Like many other Bangladeshi Canadians, I have voted in Canada’s federal and provincial elections, where political parties present their election manifestos and budget allocations for various schemes they propose.The role of philanthropists donned by the leaders of major political parties in Bangladesh is not quite amusing. Evidently, the overall costs of the freebies will have to be borne by the taxpayers. Why, then, are the leaders behaving as though they are the real benefactors?
With freebies catching people's attention, the principle of voting for the best candidate on the basis of efficiency is facing a serious challenge. Voters should understand their responsibility and vote for leaders who they think will work towards Bangladesh’s development in all sectors.
People should vote for the party that gives importance to education, health care, and employment. Instead of offering freebies, political parties should promise to modernize government hospitals to bring them on a par with private hospitals in housekeeping, service, and treatment. They should promise to renovate government schools and make them comparable to private schools in the quality of education, availability of teachers, hygiene, etc. They need not promise food for free. They can provide more opportunities to people to earn money so that they can buy their own food.
While it is true that one should not shirk his or her responsibility of voting, the manner in which political parties conduct themselves after they are voted to power forces many people to stay away. Our votes are invaluable and that is the reason political parties are offering freebies. But can we allow them to influence us by promising goods bought from our own money? A party that can provide transparent, corruption-free governance can rest assured that people will vote for it. Last but not the least, it is the people who are to blame for the announcement of freebies. We should have the courage to stand up and say we don't want them. We should demand good schools, power, health care and infrastructure.
A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the instalment plan. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom. We who in engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.
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