Famous American poet, writer and editor, Carl Sandburg, once said that life is like an onion which you peel off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep. The first half of Sandburg’s saying is now a manifest reality for BNP as it appears to be peeling off layer by layer. Many of its leaders are absconding, scores of them are in jail, one or two are quitting, and some are abstaining from party activities due to old age, dissatisfaction and fear of persecution. What about the other half of the saying? Is anyone weeping because this former ruling party is being run into the ground? Does anybody wonder why this party, still enjoying its share of popularity in the country, is looking like a falling meteor?
As we all know, meteors burn on entering the atmosphere. They move through the vacuum of space and typically travel at high speeds. When they hit the atmosphere, the air in front of them compresses incredibly quickly and raises temperature. This causes the meteors to heat up so much that they glow before the air burns them until nothing is left.
It can be debated where on the meteor trajectory BNP lies today. Is it still travelling through the vacuum, or has it hit the atmosphere? Is the air in front of it getting compressed? Has the temperature risen? Is it glowing? Or, has the burning started already?
Perhaps no two minds will agree on any single answer. Perhaps nobody including the party high command has an answer for us. All said and done BNP looks as if it’s headed up a creek without a paddle. Even worse, its leaders in their mad scramble are giving the impression of running around like headless chickens. If sympathetically said, they’re helpless like those Greeks in Homer’s Odyssey, who were trapped inside the Cyclops’ cave and waited for the monster to devour them.
Three causes are being discussed as likely reasons why BNP is in this tight corner. One is that the party is divided as the old guards are in favour of distancing themselves from the centre of gravity in London. Secondly, the party fat cats who have made money are more interested in clinging to their fortunes instead of risking everything by lancing with the government. Thirdly, ludicrous bunglings of last couple of years have hugely undermined confidence in existing leadership.
Thus BNP in its present predicament is a logical conclusion of its past blunders, an early warning for any ruling party wishing to take power for granted. There’s something called force of nature that brings salmons upstream to their spawning ground, or prompts an elephant, according to legend, to head for the elephant graveyard when it knows the end is near. It could be the same force that also has been driving BNP, haunted by the ghosts of its past aberrations.
One unmistakable message emerges from this wretched condition. In its own sweet interest, a political party shouldn’t encourage its leaders to indulge in corruption. It’s for the same reason that army conducts surprise drills to test “combat readiness” of its units. Another message is that a party should feed its leaders and workers on the ideological diet to keep the fire burning in their belly. When leaders lose focus, the party goes adrift!
BNP is still one of the two largest political parties in the country, and a large section of people would like to vote for it. But why is it reeling like a boxer under a hail of blows? Why are its programs failing to ignite sparks like striking a match on damp surface or putting a plug into dead socket?
One obvious reason is that the government has been pounding on it harder than a hammer hits an anvil. But BNP is also to blame for its own distress. The party is divided, confused and callous, underprepared, if not unprepared, to cope with its formidable adversary. Since its last days in power, it has failed to project a consistent vision or strategy. It has resorted to ad hoc activities, failing to make an impact and then going forward to build on it.
Onions get peeled down to the nub, and for BNP that means one of the two things. The party will either get splintered or marginalised unless a Phoenix-like resurrection turns the tide. Right now we’re watching a case of muscular atrophy in politics. A political party is wasting away its hard-earned popularity just because it can’t get its acts together.
If BNP goes down, others should be warned because senseless politics, like unbridled tongue, leads to disaster. Power invariably abuses those who abuse power, and BNP is paying through its nose. Hope it will ride out the storm and learn not to repeat its mistakes again.
The writer is the Editor of weekly First News and an opinion writer for The Daily Star.
Source: The Daily Star