Thursday, December 22, 2005

A Successful BNP Rally: Postscripts for Thought

As I wrote on November 22nd , “A popular nationalistic BNP-Jamat government should not be subject to ...baseless fear” due to a rally by AL and its 14 party alliance, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has shown huge political maturity by holding a bigger rally right after one month from their opposition’s rally. As reported, they have spent half a core taka ($70,000) for a 3 hour rally in Dhaka. Fortunately, there has been no dramatic transportation strike at this time. It is a huge celebration of success and festivity at a very pleasant temperature in Dhaka.

Our prime minister Khaleda Zia’s speech was very straightforward as she blamed the opposition party for militancy and anarchy. As she has said: ‘Those who have stayed out of it [dialogue] are accomplices of the militants.’ Madam, dialogue does not stop militancy. Fanaticism breeds militancy. Inaction and indifference inspire militants. Whether Awami League joined the dialogue or not, how can she escape responsibility for her administration’s gross failure to tackle militancy? How can she escape the blame of breeding militancy when she forms a government on theological conception?

Since most of us now have been at least graduated from high school, I think we will love to find everything critically. In a democratic process, a political party needs to present reasonable and appropriate responses to their counterpart to convince a lay person like me. Addabaj invites readers to have a comparative analysis of BNP’s speeches in the light of 23 point common national program for political action announced by the opposition parties in Bangladesh. For the sake of time, I’ll review only the first six out of 23 demands of opposition parties and let my readers critically review the adequacy and appropriateness of BNP’s response.

1. A secular democratic government will be established through free and fair elections that will be held after bringing reforms in the caretaker system of government and the Election Commission on the basis of the guidelines announced on July 15, 2005.

BNP’s response: She refused any discussion on election process as if she owns the fair election process and shows her huge confidence in political muscles. Why will BNP deny a process of fair election that will increase reliability of the government and people’s trust in the election process? What’s her fear? Her confidence should not have been shaky in any election process, as people will elect her anyway as they have witnessed glowing progress during her regime.

2. The country will be freed from chauvinist communal forces and militants. Such forces will be removed from all levels of the government and administration. Trials of war criminals will be held and there will be a ban on communal politics.

BNP’s Response: When her own party member accused the administration of sheltering militants and resigned, she even did not have guts to go forward to refute that, investigate that or clarify that to the nation. She wants to lead Bangladesh as an Islamist country as her beloved husband the former General Zia started the business of Heaven by introducing religious scripture in our political life and blessing military pardon to the Jamati-Rajakar killers of Bangladesh for validating his military regime. She has completed the legacy of her late husband’s wish by putting the war criminals into the cabinet. People are not dummy anymore that she can run the country by provoking baseless fear and anxiety of a foreign power when she fails to prove her competency to people.

3. People are the owners of all resources and power based on this principle supremacy of the constitution will be established in running of the country. Rule of law will be established, all laws contrary to the fundamental rights of the people will be scrapped, steps will be taken to stop extra-judicial killings, and the judiciary will be separated from the executive branch of the government.

BNP’s Response: There’s no response. Look at the number of mass killing, cross fire and incident of police brutality in Bangladesh. What’s her take on the anti-corruption initiatives as people are sick and tired of corruption? How’s she going to bring back transparency in the administration?

4. The parliament will be the centre of all activities. Accountability of the government will be ensured. Elections to district and upazila councils will be held within a year of the formation of the new government. Autonomous local governments will be strengthened and empowered properly.

BNP’s response: What’s her response? Democracy is not limited to a national election. It starts from the smallest unit of local government. It is the process of representation and accountability. What direction will she give? No response.

5. Criminals and their godfathers will be identified and will be brought to book. They will not be accepted as members of any political party and no party can nominate them in the elections. A healthy political environment will be ensured by stopping political corruption and criminalization.

BNP: No response.

6. A system will be introduced so that all ministers, lawmakers, politicians and bureaucrats disclose the accounts of their assets. Their accounts will be monitored in order to ensure that corruption is rooted out from all spheres of the state and the society.

BNP’s response: Where is the fear for disclosing the accounts of the assets of politicians and (also bureaucrats)? Could you tell me how many ministers had to resign from her cabinet due to allegation of corruption? Where’s law? What’s the recourse?

When we are craving for political action plan from BNP to embrace their success, her rally has really disappointed us as it has only featured joy and festivity for obsessing our minds. How long will we carry on the legacy of deception? I have put this postscript for provoking reasonable thoughts to carry on in our mind as we hate and refuse to be fooled again and again by our political parties.

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