AN ACUTE shortage of public transport, inside the capital city and in districts bordering Dhaka, on Sunday left hundreds of thousands of people in the lurch. Many of them waited for hours to catch a bus but had to return home without taking the trouble to walk down long distances or dishing out a hefty amount of money in rickshaw or autorickshaw fares. Many having pressing work to do had to walk long distances, as far as from Nakhalpara to Kamalapur in the capital Dhaka. Students taking the Junior School Certificate examinations were the worst suffers as they had to attend the examinations hall, either walking down the road, and taking the examination after being tired, or by spending a higher amount of money on the travel. Public transports, especially buses, remained, or make to remain, off the road, in and around the capital, as part of what is said to be a tactic of choice of the ruling party to stop people, rushing in from outside, to join the rally of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party in Suhrawardy Udyan.
Although a government leader sought to explain that they had nothing to say if transport owners wanted to keep there vehicles off the road in fear of a possible vandalism in the programme of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, there are reasons, and allegations levelled by BNP leaders even outside the city, to believe that transport owners may have been persuaded not to run their buses. Such a tactic of the ruling party is unethical. Besides, why should the ruling party need to resort to such a ploy when it says that the Bangladesh Nationalist Party has its popularity waning? If no such persuasion has been at play, it is, then, imperative for the government, which has a duty to afford the citizens the amenities that they need, to investigate why transport owners had kept their vehicles off the road and hold them to account following the due process of law. The government cannot shrug off its responsibilities that it needs to discharge and its commitment to citizens that it needs to prove.
The government, under the circumstances, must institute a credible investigation of what the transport owners did on the day. The commitment of the government and its duty towards the citizens, otherwise, come to be questioned. In the event of the other possibility, it must remember that efforts to foil political programmes of parties in the opposition may not do any good to the ruling party or to politics. This is not at all a healthy trend. The ruling party, therefore, needs to abstain from such action that questions the democratic polity. It needs an immediate course correction.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Editorial