The funny resignation game in Bangladesh

by Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

Source: Weekly Blitz

Current government of Bangladesh Awami League has surely given birth to the biggest joke in country’s politics by restoring the ministerial position of extremely corrupt minister in charge of the railway ministry in Bangladesh, brief-less lawyer Suranjit Sen Gupta, who resigned from his post on April 16, 2012 amid bribery scandal, where stacks of money were recovered from the possession of his personal staffers, which were en-route to the minister’s house. Through the resignation though Suranjit Sen Gupta, who enjoyed the status of a “veteran parliamentarian”, finally landed into the status of a corrupt political clown in the eyes of the people at home and abroad, but he also exhibited his hidden power by forcing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in swallowing her order of forcing minister Suranjit Sen Gupta to quit and later bringing him back to the cabinet as a minister without portfolio, thus naked exposing the political and administrative bankruptcy of the government. It may be mentioned here that, Suranjit’s assistant personal secretary [APS] Omar Faruk was caught with two corrupt senior officials of Bangladesh Railway with large sum of bribe money, during the late hours of April 9, 2012. Subsequently on April 15, 2012, Suranjit Sen Gupta was summoned at the official residence of the Prime Minister, where he was asked to give explanations of the incident of April 9, 2012 night, where his staffers were caught with stacks of money en-route to the minister’s residence. Suranjit tried to defend himself with numerous stories, similar to those of what he told the media since the scandal broke, while the Prime Minister did not buy such lies of the railway minister and asked him to quit the post. Suranjit played all of his cards in not being axed from the cabinet, while the Prime Minister reportedly told him that his [Suranjit] corruption as well as corruption of his son and inner-circle cadres of him was already within the radars of various intelligence agencies.

The mysterious bounce-back of Suranjit to the cabinet has generated more curiosity in country’s political arena than it did when the minister was caught red-handed on the bribe scandal. It is rumored that two of the very influential political figures in India made calls to Bangladesh government and expressed their annoyance over forcing Suranjit Sen Gupta towards resignation. They even reminded the government that prior to the general election in 2008, current Prime Minister’s son, Sajib Wajed Joy wrote in an article that Bangladesh Awami League aspires in putting a Hindu leader into the post of country’s Prime Minister, if voted into power. One of the callers from India even said that, ousting Suranjit Sen Gupta will simply prove that Bangladesh Awami League made such publicity with the motive of getting sympathy of the minority voters. Being hapless with such harsh comments, the government had no option but to bring Suranjit back into the cabinet, while it is also indicated that all investigations against him and his son will also be dropped immediately. Suranjit Sen Gupta’s only son Soumen Sen Gupta became a multi-millionaire from being a mid-level employee in a telecom company, overnight after his father became the railway minister. He paid TK 50 million only as license money for obtaining a telecommunication license, while he also is set to invest few millions of dollars in this business.

Suranjit’s return to the cabinet in less than 24 hours has given birth to strong speculations that the current government in Bangladesh is remote-controlled from the neighboring nation, while their agents within and outside the government are visibly more powerful and influential than many of the front-ranking politicians in the ruling party.

Another source said, Suranjit Sen Gupta’s statement of taking break from politics for the time being till he is found clean was actually an indirect threat to the ruling party, as it greatly depends on this man in question of a number of legal issues, which includes holding of next election under the neutral caretaker government. It is Suranjit, who’s primary goal was letting next general elections be held under the ruling party, thus abolishing the caretaker government system.

Resignation of corrupt Suranjit Sen Gupta was though a huge drama, his return to the cabinet in less than 24 hours is truly a mega-drama, which not only will now smash the remaining image of the ruling party, but will also prove to the locals and international community that the government of Bangladesh Awami League is not only indulged into limitless corruption, but it also has developed the habit of compromising with corruption and corrupts. Certainly such images and impressions are neither good for democracy nor acceptable for good governance. This particular instance now will remain as the darkest example of corruption within the people holding power in Bangladesh.

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