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Professor Muhammad Yunus is a man with formidable international name recognition, domestic popularity and civil society –donor acceptance. So he definitely is a rival to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at least in terms of clout and recognition. Is this the reason behind Mrs. Hasina and her Government’s self-immolating attempts to harass and undermine Professor Yunus? Is jealousy is the only factor behind the fact the whole state craft of Bangladesh spend months after months, whole cabinet spends two hours in special meeting and octogenarian Finance Minister makes it his magnum opus to somehow device a way for the state to remove Mr. Yunus from his high held position?  It is true that when the state wants to remove a little potato like Ram Rahim Jodu Modhu – they simply can put them behind the bars for indefinite period, disappear them forcefully, kill them in RAB cross fire. The higher clout figure they go after – the more difficult it gets. Vanishing Chowdhury Alam, a unit organizer of central Dhaka BNP was much easier for the state than removing Ilias Ali, a nationally recognized leader. As such, Professor Muhammad Yunus is way much big a figure for the state to simply remove from the horizon. State of Bangladesh can stage an event to remove Muhammad Yunus – but the consequence will be too much to handle. The mind of statecraft is not that clouded yet with jealousy not to be able to think of that.

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Awami League political stalwart Tofael Ahmed and center left political icon Rashed Khan Menon declined a recent offer to be ministers for the last year of Awami League Government. Although some media reporting were laced with a strong element of surprise, there in fact should not be any surprise in this decision.

For Tofael and Menon, the decision was very easy. Although they risked alienating the all powerful elected dictator of the country — Sheikh Hasina and they made their re-election process a tad difficult — they earned much more long term dividends with this decision. First,they know very clearly that being a minister does not guarantee or even facilitate re-election if a fair election is allowed to happen under an anti-incumbency wave.

And then, As the current trend goes, i.e. it is very stylish to curse two major political party leaders and demand a 3rd political ( or even non political force) — Tofael and Menon just earned bumper scores in their resume to be considered for a any future 3rd ( political or non political) force front leader job. And in a phenomenon of reciprocity, while Tofael- Menon gain 3rd force credibility, 3rd force also gains traction with more credible 3rd force leadership contenders.

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