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Post-election Bangladesh: Need for New Opposition Parties

January 8, 2014

Amid country-wide opposition alliance sponsored violence, Bangladesh held its 10th parliamentary election, where voters’ participation was tepid.

BNP’s absence marred the election; however, it would be wrong to put the blame for holding a BNP-less election squarely on AL. AL lost its moral high ground even though it acted in line with the constitution.   Many people feel deceived as half of the parliament members elected uncontested.  To solace their feelings of deception, AL should declare the date of next election. It will do it not to comply with the demand of organizationally-weak BNP, but to demonstrate that it really takes care about people’s feeling and opinion.

It would be equally wrong to categorically term not-so-satisfactory turnout unacceptable and people’s overwhelming response to ‘the Gallian call’ from ‘the would-be-govt.-in-exile’. The best we could interpret from this turnout is that people are deeply vexed at current political culture.

It is highly unlikely that BNP will discard its all weather ally Jamaat. The opinion polls, which have hailed BNP as the leading party for forming the next govt., also indicate that a great number of people do not like its alliance with Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI).After the Molotov cocktail campaign and Jamaat-shibir violence, another round of opinion poll, I think, will not project BNP as a leading contender for the next govt.

Right now, AL is in a delicate situation. Before it, there is no formidable opposition.  Does this mean it will not welcome any criticism? It should allow and provide space for peaceful protests.

It has to be extra cautious about political thugs and corrupts, who will try to get on its boat to make their own fortune, since AL is the omnipotent political force right now in the country.

Violent activities of restive opposition alliance will distance BNP from people. In this context, there is indeed a political vacuum in the opposition. It is true that there is no ‘impending calamity’, as many political commentators predicted, hanging over AL govt. Yet, the need for opposition has to be felt by the incumbent party. Why?

The reason can be best explained by the birth of Indian Congress party. Most Marxist historians see the birth as a culmination of series of events in India’s struggle for a political platform. They do not think it is an act of one individual.Contrary to Marxist historians’ view, western historians view the Indian Congress as the brainchild of Allan Octavian Hume who first felt the need for such an organization that could work as a ‘safety valve’ to release the pent-up anger of the Indian mass. Otherwise, the growing discontents of the Indians would end up in creating another catastrophe like 1857.

The lefts and other secular parties should come forward to fill up the vacuum created in the opposition. On behalf of the people, they should criticize the govt. right and left. And time and again raise the demand for an early poll.

In all districts, govt. should select some places where any opposition party can hold their protest peacefully.

Some quarters have mistakenly tried to say the present govt. has little legitimacy to try the war criminals. They have forgotten the fact that trial of war criminals is being carried out by the judiciary, which is independent. The present govt. is only a party in this legal fight. It started the trial of war criminals in its previous tenure. It was a political decision. Now the present govt. has nothing to do with it. So I think knowledgeable quarter should abstain from criticizing the govt. if we see more implementation of International Crimes Tribunal verdicts during this govt.’s tenure.

With growing concern and much frustration, we see that a constant civil society bashing is going on. Criticizing the civil society members in the strongest possible language is very condemnable. Civil society, who also suffered great humiliation during BNP-Jamaat regime for raising their voices in support of the then opposition party AL, is doing what it is supposed to do. AL will have to go to the opposition again  in future, when it will find this same civil society as god-sent angels!

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From → Analysis

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