Moving away from street politics

The two parties need to change their mindset and remember they are serving people in a democratic society

Politicians have remarked on the arrests of senior BNP leaders this weekend from the perspective of their ability to bring people into the streets.

BNP members have complained that the crackdown challenges the party’s ability to organise as leaders are going into hiding, while AL figures have been crowing that the relative lack of reaction to these arrests underlines the opposition’s weakness.

We deplore the myopic attitude to politics being shown by leading politicians.

It is ordinary people who pay the price for our political leaders’ addiction to displays of power and street politics. No one in the country benefits from their short-sighted reliance on confrontation.

When politicians talk in the belief that such displays of power impress voters, they are severely mistaken. Actions which undermine the political process or which have violent consequences are simply not acceptable.

The public has consistently demonstrated its belief in democracy by voting in large numbers at national elections. It has also consistently shown its willingness to vote overwhelmingly for the two main parties. Yet the two parties still carry on as if their popularity depends on their ability to bring people out on to the streets.

They need to change their mindset and remember they are serving people in a democratic society. They must demonstrate that they are motivated by the national interest and show they are fully accountable to the public. Their power must be earned in fair debate and rewarded or rejected at the ballot box, not in the streets or ill-conceived displays of strength.

Source: Dhaka Tribune


  1. The writers good wishes is but a cry in wilderness because the culture our politics has nurtured and nourished since before liberation is none of a cultured, civilized genre; rather it is just the opposite. We have hardly any leader who bother to know our past history – the history of our past glory and pride, our centuries old tradition and culture of modesty, hospitality, well behavior, good words of welcome, both moral and religious values. Instead, our politicians have taught us ‘jalo jalo agun jalo’, ‘ – – er godite agun jalo eksathe’, ‘ek neta ek desh, – – -er Bangladesh’, ‘rokter bonnyay, vese jabe onnay’ and so on. Just listen to the so-called veteran leaders’ speeches both in position and in opposition, you’ll find astonishing similarity – even almost word for word repetion in them. Only the speakes changes. This is why even those who were street urchins and fighters a few years ago, may become vital leaders today; because in this country to do politics not knowledge, vision, patriotism etc but musclemanship, misadventure, power and capability to satisfy the ‘BOSS’ is essential. Those who think that ‘democracy’ can bloom and flourish in such a barbaric mindset are but fools to day-dream of democracy. Democracy is a game of intellect, not of demons and monsters. But who cares? We have sowed the seeds of ‘neem’ trees and expect grapes from that. How ridiculously foolish we are!


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