JP Chairman HM Ershad's harbouring the hope of becoming president of the country is surely not endorsed by many, except perhaps his own party men. And there is reason why Ershad's ambition sounds like an autocrat turned politician asking for too much at the wrap-up stage of his career.
It is true that Ershad has regained the respectability lost during his rule in the 1980s. He must be a happy man to note that his party has 27 seats in parliament and he himself got elected from three places. But then Ershad's comeback is no doubt a quirk of history having more to do with the bitter acrimony between the AL and the BNP, than his own virtues as a politician. Well, we do admit that he still enjoys popular support in certain constituencies. But what we believe is that Ershad should celebrate his victory by serving as a senior parliamentarian fully committed to the people and the nation.
A time should surely come in the life of a politician when to him collective good must take precedence over individual goals. And nobody can prove the point better than Ershad, now in his late seventies. He can overturn the image of a military dictator and emerge as a clean politician. But his hankering after the presidency will not change his standing in the public eye as a politician failing to see anything beyond high profile positions.
As for Sheikh Hasina and her party, a sense of indebtedness might influence their decision-making. But we would urge the AL to listen to the people's voice and assess everything in light of that. The memories of the pro-democratic movements being suppressed by Ershad's regime are still in their minds.
So, a party which has just won an overwhelming majority is not expected to play any role in glorifying a much-maligned dictator.
HM Ershad's position during this late rally in his bumpy political career does indicate that our politicians by and large cannot yet think of anything else other than high positions. They have to come to terms with the truth that veteran politicians can and should try to guide the nation through proper counseling and refrain from setting negative examples.