Contemplations on Politics in Bangladesh

Maskwaith Ahsan

Maskwaith Ahsan

The writer is an Online Journalist and Offline Media Educator.

Awami League as a Political Party

It’s a party that bears the spirit of liberation war and secular institutions, a party that considers Bengali culture as the guiding element, supports the campaign for’71 war criminals’ trail and works towards bringing about change in the faulty system. Inspired by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s struggle for independence, the party considers BNP pro-Pakistan or a party with loose cultural-ideological features that do not reflect the wishes of an independent progressive Bangladesh.

BNP as a Political Party

It takes its inspiration from President Ziaur Rahman’s policies in the post ’75 political scenario. A pro-Islamist party, it believes that religion should be the basis of nationalism, sides with war criminals and the killers of Bangabandhu and other national leaders, and considers that the killing of the Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was an army rebel operation backed by pro-Pakistan and leftist forces. BNP claims that Ziaur Rahman, as an army Major, had announced the declaration of Independence, and hence refuses to accept Bangabandhu as the Father of the Nation. It labels Awami League a pro-India party which seems quite unjustified in the sense that Awami League, as government power, have had the most fierce rows with Indian governments. But, ‘pro-India’ is somehow a stigma in the political conscience of Bangladesh.

BNP & Awami League: Similarities when in Power

a) Politicize civil and military administrations

b) Support the illegal activities of their student wings

c) Radically change names of organizations

d) Party workers go on the rampage of extortion, tender terrorism and human rights violations

e) Buy tax-free cars for their solvent members of parliament

f) MPs and Ministers purchase land through proxy means

g) Provide immunity to their cadres to grab plots and riverine areas

h) Want to rule Bangladesh for the rest of the country’s life

BNP & Awami League: Similarities when in Opposition

a) Boycott National Assembly sessions but take salaries without performing and/or delivering

b) Claim conspiracies against the pro-India / pro-Pakistan tendencies of the party in power

c) Look for an excuse to incite movements for change of government

d) Their non-co-operation in National Assembly and their wrath towards the government are not appeased till they win back power

Hence, the row between the government and the opposition remains repetitive and as time-wasting as Samuel Beckett’s stagnant stage of Waiting for Godot. Nothing changes. People don’t get security or health service from the state; education fails to accommodate a wider generation and police continues to humiliate civil citizens. No political party works towards establishing social welfare services in rural areas to discourage urban migration. Election success offers only the mandate to rule, not serve. Political mudslinging doesn’t abate and this wrestling is ceaselessly aired by our electronic media.

People who survive on hand- to-mouth incomes and those who work hard and are capable of entrepreneurship get zero support from the government. They are, on top of this, harassed and hindered by the prevalent political culture.

So unless Awami League and BNP start making and talking sense, curb the tendency of political coquetry and stop issuing misplaced rhetoric, nothing will ever change.

Ignoring education as the accelerator of the country has already impeded the growth of skilled workers, while nepotism & political favoritism in the employment process has weakened talent hunting.

In the absence of a genuine opposition party in the parliament, media in Bangladesh has taken on the role of a shadow government on behalf of the people. Interestingly, the very political leaders who fail to deliver show no qualms in enjoying media publicity. Access to information and social networking sites on the internet have played a key part in making the people of Bangladesh more politically aware and critical than ever before.

The voters, as well as the non-voters, expect the Awami League-led government to ensure affordable food, sound law & order, education without political violence and a society based on secular values. People naturally understand Awami League’s desire to carry out trials of war criminals, provided other mandated issues are pursued with equal passion. (In Germany even casting doubt on the Holocaust is a crime.)

As for BNP, it will have to take lessons in democratic practices. For starters: judicious handling of the whirl castle corruption scandal and taking steps to clear up its image of being pro-fundamentalism. Regional foreign policy needs to be reassessed. Anti-India or anti-Pakistan propaganda has started to sound boring, if nothing else. In an age of information super highway, political rumors or yellow comments don’t sell like before. BNP should rethink its manifesto and plan a constructive political campaign.

While Awami League should not appear arrogant, over confident or vindictive, BNP should not look conspiratory or destructive. Leaders must understand the meaning of ‘change’ before they use it so casually. We still carry hope that these parties and their leaders will respond to a changed info-socio-political reality and say ‘YES’ to good politics only.

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The writer is an Online Journalist and Offline Media Educator.


4 Responses to “Contemplations on Politics in Bangladesh”

  1. Khondkar A Saleque

    BNP can not be comapred with Awami League. BNP is born in Cantonment by Army Genearal grabbing power through martial law. People of different tase, believe and ideology merged to tase the honey of power.Awami League formed of garassroot people led the libeartion war.It is true Awami League failed to rule as expected of it in 1972-75.But is was much better than Cantonment dominated auticrat rules from 1975-1990 and whole scale l;ooting and grabbing from 1990- 2006.
    There is no basic difference among leadership of BAL and BNP but awmi league have more dedicated grass root cadre.
    All it needs is better leadership and commited professional groups to sterr the present government out of troubled spot.
    BNP will cease to exist as major political party if it remains out of power for one more term. All Halua Rooti guys will flaot away. The ill gotten money will be gone.Summer birds will find alternate nest.
    While there are some sin miliarities as the author ponied out we must say BAL and BNP are not the same.

  2. Rimi

    Since 1975, Bangladesh’s history has been overturned. Therefore, parliamentary proceedings will be combative for quite some time till it fizzles out. BNP-Jamaat axis of evil has caused much harm to Bangladesh’s image abroad. Its crimes included awarding self confessed assassins of Mujib and his family, state sponsorship of terrorism at home and abroad, stengthening the hands of fascist fanatical Islam, manufacturing lies at will to whitewash history of Bangladesh.

    With the hanging of five of the killers of Bangabandhu BNP has been dealt a severe blow that has begun to rattle BNP. BNP’s strength emanated from the toxic breath exhaled by the bastard killers. BNP may not even survive when the rest of the seven murderers are hanged.

    In late night talkshows some immoral opportunist CSPs are trying to defame and belittle politicians again. These are worse than war criminals. These former bureaucrats are acting behind the scenes on behalf of the killers and Jamaat-e-Islami.

    Bangladesh must go back to the 1972 constitution and secularism upheld at any cost. The US is determined to wipe out fundamentalist politics from this region. Political Islam will die a violent death whether BNP, Jamaat or their sympathisers in talkshows like it or not. It is just a matter of time.

    BNP was a creation of the most hated Mir Zafar In South Asia’s history.His wife counterfeited her birthdate and there’s doubt whether the despot’s corpse is buried in his grave. It is lies and damned lies that wrap BNP in layers.

  3. arbab ahmad

    OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

    The similarities between AL and BNP end as both being political parties that led parliament in the last 13 years or so.

    For AL the time is now for Sheikh Hasina and her party to show that they have changed the face of politics in Bangladesh. With a huge mandate from the people in this past election it is time for AL to correct their past mistakes. Any member of AL who runs for office at any level of government should be scrutinized for any corrupt dealings, whether thats tender manipulation or improper allotment of rice seeds to farmers at the union level. Any member of AL who is involved in graft should be publicly removed from office. Graft by the ruling party is the root cause of all else that fails in Bangladesh. AL should set the example for our future leaders of how to run a government, the time is now the future is here.

    BNP is the other so called political party. I cannot even consider the similarities and differences as BNP would have never been in parliament had it not been for the army. In any fair election BNP would not hold a majority in government. They have swindled money for their own pockets, stealing from the people they needed to help. Tarique, Koko, Khaleda and your so called Ministers have reaped the country of what little we had. You are not a party that was ever chosen by the people and without the people you are nothing. Now you are just individual names of some 20 or so MP’s who want to sit in the front row of the JS and debate Khaleda Zia’s cantonment home requisition. BNP you will surely dwindle in time moving you below Jatiya Party and be lucky you don’t all land in jail before your time is up.

    As for AL, help the people who have voted you in. Consider the poor,hungry,homeless,ill,the farmer, the illiterate and all the others that rely on you to make their world better. If AL can correct 2o% of the wrongs made by the last BNP government then you will receive another mandate from the people in the next election if not you will give rise to another beast who will again destroy all the good of this country that we all call Bangladesh.

  4. Rob

    BNP is a political party which caters to the needs of criminals. What does Harris Choudhury, Falu, Mirza Abbas, Aman, Zahid, Dollar, Tarek, Coco, Nizami, Mujaheed, Amini embody? Terrorism, money laundering, criminalisation of bureaucracy, judiciary, legislature are just a few of the crimes BNP has been championing since its creation by dictator Zia. He destroyed education by corrupting students, supplying arms in the campuses through DFI, launching the defaulting culture through granting of loans to thieves and frauds that was never paid back but had been taken out of the country. Most of these crooks patronised by Zia are now citizens of the US, EU, Canada and Australia by the dint of their ill-gotten wealth.Zia is also the one who created the Hill Tracts problem by pushing in Bengalis unfairly into the heartland of the tribals. He also used the army to kill and rape many innocent tribals.

    What else do you expect from a woman who had her birthdate changed/forged, inducted war criminals in cabinet, unleashed terror on minorities, especially Hindus soon after the 2001 elections, provided special privileges to sel-confessed assassins of Mujib

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