Bagerhat, Dec 27 (UNB) – Sheikh Sarhan Naser Tonmoy, one of Awami League’s youngest candidates of the December 30 national election, wants to ride the turbulent waves of the polls on his youth-centric agenda.
“I’m a candidate of the young generation,” said Tonmoy, an AL’s pick for Bagerhat-2 constituency.
He has been at the centre of attention ever since he was picked to run for the constituency. The handsome looks and oratory of Bangabandhu’s grandson have captivated the hearts and minds of local people.
Sheikh Tonmoy has earned a huge fan following in real life – and his photos often go viral on the social media. He is at the centre of talks in his constituency.
Many voters say they will put faith in this young man who has promised to free Bagerhat of corruption, terrorism and drugs, and work with everybody to continue the trend of development.
“Bangladesh has 50 million young people and I’m one of them,” Tonmoy said in an interview with UNB. “This generation doesn’t want blood, war or violence. This generation wants transparency and honesty.”
The new voters in the constituency appear to be very enthusiastic about the December 30 election. They have told UNB that they dream of seeing Bangladesh joining the ranks of developed nations in near future and playing an important role in the global arena.
“With millions of youths, I share the dream of a beautiful Bangladesh with unlimited potentials,” Tonmoy said, hoping that more young people will join politics in the future.
Many new voters appeared to be swept off their feet. “He has secured a place in our hearts,” one of them said while some voters told UNB that the young candidate had reignited hopes in them.
“We can feel his passion and dedication for the country from his speeches,” one voter said. “He has appeared as a blessing for us.”
Tonmoy says he has high hopes for the young generation. “They won’t be used as a political weapon in this election. I hope this generation will stand beside us.”
‘Dreaming Hasina’s dream’
Tonmoy, a third-generation politician from his family, has seen his father Sheikh Helal and auntie Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina up close.
He says his aunt Hasina, Bangladesh’s longest-serving prime minister, has inspired him heavily. He has been saying that he felt particularly encouraged to join politics seeing her dedication, hard work and determination to take Bangladesh forward.
“We inherited the vision of a prosperous Bangladesh from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. I’m dreaming of her dream with millions of young Bangladeshis,” he said.
Tonmoy says it is up to the youth to choose ‘Boat’ – AL’s electoral symbol – to carve out a place for themselves in politics. He says he is getting overwhelming response from people.
“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sent me here to serve people, not to be a leader, and people understand that,” Tonmoy said.
Dhaka, Dec 26 (UNB) – Though they had a plan to carry out spirited electioneering after the army deployment, Jatiya Oikyafront has apparently failed to intensify its polls campaign, especially in the capital, creating a sense of frustration among its rank and file as the election approaches fast.
The beleaguered alliance also suffered a blow as the Dhaka Metropolitan Police did not permit it to hold a scheduled rally in the capital on December 27. Oikyafront leaders had planned to rejuvenate their leaders and activists with a massive showdown through the rally two days before the voting.
Some Oikyafront mid-level leaders think the alliance is failing to demonstrate its strength and create election excitement among the grassroots for lack of an effective strategy and strong leadership.
Jatiya Oikyafront leaders, led by Dr Kamal Hossain, walk out of a meeting with the Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday, December 25, 2018. Photo: UNB
They also voiced worry over the possible election results of Dhaka’s most seats as the alliance candidates could not reach out to voters and create election euphoria among their activists for lack of adequate electioneering.
However, senior leaders of the alliance said they are carrying out campaign on a limited scale as much as they can with a serious caution to avoid violence and arrest of their leaders and activists as they do not want to lose their strength before the December 30 election day.
The top Oikyafront leaders said they are now not giving importance to election campaign as they are confident that their alliance will come out successful if they can show their real strength on December 30 mobilising people.
“The ruling party is trying provoking us to indulge in violence with their attacks and obstruction to our polls campaigns. So, we’re sending out messages to our leaders and activists not to get involved in any fight and conserve their strength for the voting day. If we try to resist them now, it will only invite danger for us,” a BNP standing committee member wishing anonymity told UNB.
But, Osman Gani Tutul, a Dhaka city unit BNP ex-office secretary, said the alliance leaders should take proper strategy to accelerate the election campaign immediately to boost the morale of their grassroots.
“Our leaders said the situation would be improved after the army deployment, but it worsened instead. Our leaders and activists are being arrested regularly. So, we shouldn’t fear the arrest and obstruction,” he added.
A Dhaka south city unit leader, Shamsul Alam, said this is the fact that the situation is in no way favourable to their party and alliance leaders and activists to go out on the election field. “But had our chairperson Khaleda Zia been out of the jail, the situation would have been different. There’s now no leader in our party and alliance matches her.”
He said Dr Kamal Hossain has been playing an outstanding role, but he cannot carry out election campaign due to his fragile health condition. “Now our party should work out plans so that we can demonstrate our strength even for day as it will rejuvenate our activists and followers.”
Gano Forum training affairs secretary Rafiqul Islam Pathik said their alliance candidates, mainly the ones in the capital, cannot accelerate their electioneering due to serious repressive acts and obstructions by police and law enforcers. “People are ready to cast their votes for Sheaf of Paddy across the country. Now our main goal is to encourage people to go to the polling stations on December 30.”
BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said they had an expectation that the situation would improve with the army deployment and their candidates would be able to carry out hectic electioneering a few days before the election. “But the situation rather worsened.”
He alleged that their party leaders and activists were attacked by ruling party men and police in 28 constituencies, injuring over a hundred people, including 19 candidates, on Monday, the first day of the army development.
Rizvi said police continued to arrest their leaders and activists and file ‘false’ cases against them “A total of our 7,021 leaders and activists have been arrested till Monday since the announcement of the election schedule.”
Nagorik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna said there is a little bit of frustration among their grassroots workers due to the prevailing situation. “But we’re trying to keep up their spirit with regular contact and motivation.”
Gono Forum executive president Subrata Chowdhury said they are peacefully carrying out campaign as much as they can. “We’ve asked our activists to avoid violence as we believe people will come up with a befitting reply to all repressive acts on December 30 through the ballot.”
Dhaka, Dec 26 (UNB) – Though only three days are left before the curtain falls on electioneering, Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad, who is contesting the December-30 election from two seats, could not yet join the campaign either for him or his party candidates, demoralising his party leaders and activists.
Party senior leaders said their chairman will return home from Singapore on Wednesday evening after receiving treatment for over two weeks, but he will not be able to carry out that much of campaign as his physical condition is not good.
Talking to UNB, a number of mid-level party leaders said they are virtually now without the guardian in absence of Ershad as they are not getting any directive about the election from their senior leaders, including senior co-chairman Raushon Ershad, co-chairman GM Quader, Ershad’s special assistant Ruhul Amin Hawlader and secretary general Moshiur Rahman Ranga.
They also said they are not clear about the reasons behind their chairman’s absence from all sorts of election activities, changing the party secretary general, making Hawlader party’s second-in-command and fielding 145 party candidates to run the election independently out of the Grand Alliance.
The Jatiya Party leaders said they have strong doubt about their chairman’s illness as he had been admitted to the hospital before the 2014 national election as well.
Amid various speculations, Ershad was admitted to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Dhaka on November 27 and since then, remained inactive in the party’s election-related activities.
On December 3, he made party presidium member Moshiur Rahman Ranga its secretary general removing Ruhul Amin Hawlader from the post.
Five days later, the Jatiya Party chief appointed removed Hawlader as his special assistant and party’s second-in-command to discharge all the organisational responsibilities of the party chairman in his absence.
On December 10, Ershad along with party presidium member Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu and his APS Manjurul Islam went to Singapore for treatment.
The Jatiya Party chief is contesting the 11th parliamentary elections from Dhaka-17 and Rangpur-3 seats.
“We’re now guardian-less as we have no contact with party senior leaders in absence of our chairman. Our most senior leaders are busy carrying out their election campaign. Though Ruhul Amin Hawlader was supposed to discharge our chairman’s responsibilities, he is not active. Now, we’re not getting any instruction from party high command during the crucial election,” a Jatiya Party independent candidate from a Rajshahi seat told UNB wishing anonymity.
Contacted, Jatiya Party presidium member SM Faisal Chisti said Ershad is returning home on Wednesday evening and will carry out campaign in Dhaka-17 seat, but he may not go to Rangpur due to his physical condition.
He said there is worry and frustration among their party leaders and activists across the country as their chairman still could not carry out any electioneering either in favour of him or for any other party candidate. “It’s true that our leaders and activists could have been more spirited had our chairman been there in the country.”
Once returns home, Chisti said, Ershad will take steps to warm up party rank and file removing all kinds of confusion and frustration among them.
Jatiya Party presidium member Maj (retd) Khaled Akter said their party leaders and activists are little worried as their chairman has been missing since the beginning of the electioneering. “When the chief of a major party is sick and can’t take part in the election is a matter of some worry for its leaders and activists. But they’re not disappointed.”
Khaled said Ershad could not have carried out election campaign for the party candidates that much even had he been there in the country as his physical condition is not good. “But, he could have campaigned in the two seats where he has been contesting the election.”
In absence of their party chairman, he said, its senior leaders are carrying out campaign in favour of him.
He said their leaders and activists are unitedly working hard to ensure the victory of party’s other candidates at different parts of the country.
Khaled, a Jatiya Party candidate for Lalmonirhat-1 seat, said he is getting huge response from voters though his not a Grand Alliance candidate.
Jatiya Party senior joint secretary general Advocate Rezaul Islam Bhuiyan said their party leaders and activists have got demoralised to some extent as Ershad has been staying abroad for nearly two weeks during the national election. “But there’s no impact of it in my constituency as I’m a Grand Alliance candidate.”
He said he is getting support from both the party leaders and activists and also from their alliance partners in his area.
Bhuiyan hoped that their party leaders and activists will be rejuvenated as their chairman is coming home on Wednesday.
Rangpur city mayor and city unit Jatiya Party president Mostafizur Rahman Mostafa along with party leaders and activist are carrying out electioneering in favour of Ershad in Rangpur-3 seat.
Mostafa said they are carrying out hectic campaign in fabour of Ershad and getting huge response from voters. “Though sir (Ershad) can’t go to voters, there’s no impact of it as all know he is sick. People of Rangpur love him very much. Even, he was elected from jail in the past and got elected.”
Dhaka, Dec 25 (UNB) – The country’s available power generation increased by about 2,200 MW in the last one year while installed production capacity saw a rise by around 4,000 MW, according to statistics of state-owned Power Development Board (PDB).
The PDB data placed in its website’s generation archive show that the country’s installed capacity reached 17,685 MW in December 2018 from 13,846 MW in the corresponding period in 2017.
The derated or actual capacity was increased by 3,995 MW to 17,142 MW from 13,147 during the same period.
However, the overall power generation is now 10,000-10,800 MW against 8,600-9,200 MW in 2017.
The statistics show that the country witnessed highest generation of 11,623 MW at 7:30 am on September 19 last while highest 9507 MW was recorded at 7:30 am on October in 2017, showing a rise by 2,116 MW in the highest production benchmark.
Officials said if the non-grid captive power generation of about 3,000 MW and 250 MW of renewable energy are included in statistics, the total generation will go up to 20,343 MW of which 11,057 MW came from private sector producers while 9,286 MW from public entities.
They said the generation was 5000-7000 MW less from their actual capacity because of various reasons.
“It happened either for capacity drop on the ground of old-age or gas shortage in gas-fired plants, or fall in water level hydropower plants or shortage of coal in coal-fired plants or shutdown of plants for rehabilitation or maintenance purpose,” said Power Cell director general Mohammad Hossain.
The power generation normally drops in the winter because due to lesser demand.
The country witnessed the evening peak generation at 8296 MW on December 22 while it was 7064 MW on the same day in 2017.
The statistics also show that the country’s total number of power generation plants in public and private sectors has increased by 17 to 127 in December 2018 from 110 in same month of last year.
Of this, only six plants came into operation in the public sector while the remaining 11 came in the private sector.
Power Division officials said the private sector power generation witnessed a substantial growth for a friendlier investment policy offered by the government over the last one decade.
The private sector has started dominating Bangladesh’s power generation, contributing 54.35 percent of the total electricity against 45.65 percent produced by state-owned power plants.
Private sector investors also appreciated the government's supportive role in achieving the progress and demanded continuation of such state policy to promote private investment in the power sector.
Imran Karim, vice-president of Bangladesh Independent Power Producers Association (BIPPA), said, "Without a strong support from the state, it had not been possible for the private sector producers to reach the milestone."
As per the latest Power System Master Plan 2016, he said, the government envisioned to take the power generation to 40,000 MW by 2030, which requires huge investments. "If the current policy of the government continues, the private sector will be able to play a very important role in attaining the target," he added.
According to BIPPA, the private sector has invested about $12 billion over the last 10 years by setting up over 50 power plants.
BIPPA leaders said they have now planned to invest $50 billion in the next 12 years to keep up the private sector's participation in the power sector development.
The private investors want to invest as independent power producers (IPPs) as well as private partners via the public-private partnership (PPP) initiative to set up at least 55 plants to generate some 12,000 MW of power or more.
Dhaka, Dec 25 (UNB) — Bangladesh have finished the year 2018 winning 21 out of 44 international matches they have played. Before the World Cup in May next year, Bangladesh have no schedule in the home ground. The Tigers are optimistic to bring their recent success ahead.
Recently, Bangladesh have beaten Zimbabwe and West Indies in two successive home series. They were superb in all formats of cricket against both teams. Bangladesh head coach Steve Rhodes said: “We have been playing really good cricket, especially in ODIs. We hope that will continue in coming days.”
Three-match T20I series against West Indies was the last series for the Tigers where they finished on the losing side. In the first match of the series, Bangladesh were beaten by the Caribbeans pace and bounce at Sylhet International Stadium. Shakib Al Hasan and his team lost the match by 36 runs.
But in the second match, the hosts made a strong comeback thanks to Shakib Al Hasan’s unbelievable all-round performance of scoring 42 and taking his first-ever five-for in T20Is. The Tigers got a golden chance to register another triumph against the Caribbeans in the series decider but they failed. In the third and final T20I, Bangladesh lost the momentum after a horrible mistake of a Bangladeshi umpire, Tanvir Ahmed, who called for a no-ball assuming over-stepped delivery of Oshane Thomas. But the TV replay showed that was a legal delivery.
West Indian players saw the ball through in the giant screen which is installed in the middle of the gallery and asked for a review even though there is no Player Review for such an instance. The incident delayed the match for about 10 minutes which broke the concentration and stole the momentum from them as well. And eventually, Bangladesh lost the match by a big margin of 50 runs.
Apart from T20I series defeat, Bangladesh had a successful outing against West Indies. But prior to the T20I series, Bangladesh beat the touring side in Test and ODI.
“The performance we have shown in back-to-back two home series against Zimbabwe and West Indies was completely satisfactory,” Said Minhajul Abedin, the chief selector of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).
“I think we have got a balanced squad as we did well in all three departments. We have to play in New Zealand in the next series and I hope the experience of winning two home series at the end of 2018 will help us in the forthcoming series. I believe our boys are more matured now,” Minhajul further added while talking to the media recently.
Despite losing the first Test against Zimbabwe in Sylhet, the Tigers proved their red-ball improvement winning the next three Tests. One of them was against Zimbabwe and the other two were against the Windies.
Bangladesh were completely ahead of West Indies in two-match Test series against the Caribbeans. Mahmudullah Riyad, Mominul Haque hit two centuries in the series and Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam were superb against the touring batsmen. Shadman Islam, the young opener, also justified his place in the Test team hitting a fifty in debut.
“We have got many reasons to be happy in the series against West Indies. Some of the senior guys were out of form. But in the last series, they backed to their best which is really satisfactory. And some young guys played their role correctly which have made our squad more balanced. Now we can look at the next series against New Zealand which is really important for us,” Minhajul said about the performance of during West Indies series.
Tamim Iqbal made a comeback with the ODI series against West Indies and hit two fifties. Along with Tamim, Mushfiqur, Soumya and Shakib performed will beat the Windies in an ODI series for the second time in the year.
Despite the expected success of the batsmen, lack of form of pace bowlers was a big concern for the hosts. But Steve Rhodes, the Bangladesh coach, hopes the pacers will get chance to hone their power during the New Zealand tour.
Overall, the West Indies series was a successful assignment for the Tigers in the last series of the year. Now they are optimistic to carry their golden run ahead in the international circuit.