by F R Chowdhury
Politics in Bangladesh is different from other places. Here the leaders of the opposition parties do not congratulate the leader of the winning party. The loser thinks he or she should have won. Because s/he lost the election, the election must have been unfair. To go one step more, they feel they should not attend the parliament. Instead of voicing grievances in the parliament or criticising any wrong action or policy of the Government in the parliament, they resort to street demonstration and try to bring down the Government through violent protest rather than democratic process. The worst thing is that our teachers and students get involved disrupting the education system which is supposed to be backbone of the country. Violence results into lot of destructions. The transport system gets paralysed. Industries stop their production activities. The wheel of nation’s economic activities comes to a grinding halt. This has been going on for a number of years. This cannot go on indefinitely.
There is another aspect of our politics. Our politicians are very fond of power. Once in power, they develop a taste for power that they would not like to give up. They want to remain in power by hook or crook. They know it very well that once out of power, they will have to answer for their misdeeds and corruption. Safety is guaranteed so long in power. So is the love for power.
Sheikh Hasina is a clever politician. After some successful research she came with the theory of non-political care-taker government none of whom would participate as a candidate in the election. This would give all parties and candidates same level playing field to test their genuine popularity. This looked like a brilliant idea and the nation accepted it in all fairness. It suited our political culture very well. Elections were held successfully and it became part of our democratic system. We thought we were not going back to strike, hartal, destruction and violence anymore.
Now our professor has changed her theory. She thinks because she is the prime minister, there is no need for non-party care-taker government. But people do not agree with her new theory this time. Knowing very well that in a fair election under a care-taker government her party cannot return to power, she utilized the more than 2/3 majority in the parliament to remove the system of care-taker government from the constitution. She now insists that election be held under the constitution – i.e. under her government so that she can utilize all unfair means to remain in power. People are still strongly in favour of her original theory of election under care-taker government.
In a recent article I mentioned it very clearly that the moment the PM says that she agrees to her own original theory of care-taker government, all movement and demonstrations will cease; and the country will have fair election and peaceful transition of power. But unfortunately she is adamant. She does not care about the continuing movement, unrest, violence and killing. She will have it her way.
Where is the country heading? It is perhaps leading to a total confrontation. Eventually our patriotic armed forces may have to intervene to save the nation. Once again we will fail to protect the continuity of our democratic process. Only one person will be happy and that is our prime minister. Her attitude – if I cannot have it, you cannot have it either. It is nothing other than pure personal vendetta.
In a parliamentary democracy, the prime minister is supposed to be the chief executive of the government. He or she has so many important responsibilities. She cannot afford to talk rubbish in public. Yet, we heard some very irresponsible utterances from our prime minister. About the leader of the opposition she said, “She keeps drinking all night and sleeps beyond mid-day”. On another occasion she said, “She cannot rest in peace because the country is in peace”. The PM also said, “When she cuts the birthday cake, I feel the knife is going through my heart”. The people of Bangladesh are now more educated, cultured and civilized. They do not like to hear such rubbish. In fact the PM is losing her popularity by such loose talks. Not only that, after all these mockery about Khaleda Zia, she made her own existence difficult with Khaleda Zia in power. She knows how she would be ridiculed. She cannot accept that shame. She has to remain in power.
The people cannot allow such personal jealousy and hatred to dictate the politics of this country. Nobody should be allowed to play around with the future of the nation. The culture of politics has to change. Respect and admiration should replace hatred and vengeance. We must be more tolerant. We must accept the will of the people. The loser in the election must congratulate the winner. Parliament should be the place for all reasonable arguments. We have good things to learn from others. In India Mr. Lalu Prasad is now in jail for corruption. They did not look for APS or drivers. Justice should be fair.
I shall make one last appeal to the PM, kindly agree to a non-party care-taker government for the election and save the nation. If you have any doubt, please give a referendum on this issue and act according to peoples’ verdict. If you have really done so much good, as claimed by you every now and then, you should have nothing to worry about. People will bring you back to power. In any case the nation will remember you with respect for inventing the theory of non-party care-taker government which definitely cured the culture of politics in Bangladesh once for all.
<email@example.com> London, 04 November, 2013