A 450 Seat Parliament - ploy of ruling coalition to win the next election
After spending a pleasantly unproductive two and a half years of parliamentary life in December 2003 BNP leadership announced out of the blue to go ahead for 450-member parliament including 50 nominated women members.
M. Shafiullah, who is a former Ambassador writes in The Daily Star:
BNP needs to accommodate all aspirants in 300 plus seats to turn tide lest the deprived and the dejected join other parties. To ensure much-promised 20 years in power, BNP needs to further strengthen Jamaat-i-Islami and other Islamic parties as powerful alliance. They need to be built as counter weight to secular forces. Islamic parties can be allocated a generous number of constituencies in an enlarged 400 seat parliament with adequate representation in the cabinet. Once the BNP alliance is re-elected with majority it would bag almost all 50 women's nominated seats.
How scary the ploy is if it is true.
Mr. Shafiullah also says:
The enormous cost involved for electing 450 members, in their accommodation, transports, perks, allowances and privileges, as well as in running and maintenance of the majestic parliament building need to be projected for public information. But in today's politics transparency and accountability is the last thing in the line. This culture has degenerated into gimmick and comic without which politicians seem to have no other alternative to amuse the nation.
Would the nation remain to be amused or do something to change all this?