January 03, 2007

A dark cloud

If you had been following Bangladesh politics then you should be frustrated by now. Nobody knows what will happen on the next day. A few days ago Awami League and its allies decided to run for the January 22 Poll. Today Awami League and the grand alliance decided not to do so.

A few weeks ago Ershad and his Jatiyo Party was scheduled to join BNP and its four party alliance. Then with a 180 degree swing he joined Awami League and its 14 party alliance. Probably he got the best deal there. In Bangladesh what the politicians say is good for that moment, and for that moment only. Their ultimate goal is to win election and exploit unlimited power. Nobody wants to lose. There is seldom any agenda, ethics or interest of the common people.

So why has AL came to this decision, which is bound to create more anarchy and uncertainty in the country? Some say it knew all along that the election would be robbed from them. Others say it is because Ershad was not allowed to participate in the polls. Without Ershad and Jatiyo parties 50 Seats out of 300, Awami League might have sensed defeat. The game is all about winning and the winner takes it all. The democratic practice of being a strong opposition in deciding country's future is yet to be learned by the parties. On the lighter side Ershad took this opportunity to recite a poem today while declaring the poll boycott. Some people never change.

Déjà vu! The situation is similar to February 1996 when BNP Zia was re-elected by a landslide election victory, which was boycotted and denounced as rigged by the main opposition parties. In March 1996, following escalating political turmoil, the sitting Parliament enacted a constitutional amendment to allow a neutral caretaker government to assume power conduct new parliamentary elections. New parliamentary elections were held in June 1996 and were won by the Awami League. (wikipedia)

But will it work for them the second time? There are times in politics when you must be on the right side and lose. In 2001 US elections democrats felt that they were robbed but they believed in the electoral system. Probably they will win back in 2009 But don't expect the same sanity among the Grand alliance politicians of Bangladesh. Their actions will only damage the country's economy.

And why should people trust their faith in the electoral process even overseen by a caretaker government when you can rent a rally and good candidates do not get the chance to run for the election. A way out is nowhere to be seen. Some predict that only an army rule can change the impasse.

It is said that uncertainty is the refuge of hope. I only hope that we will be able to see the sunshine as soon as the dark cloud disperses. Let sanity prevail in Bangladesh politics.


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