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Hope for dialogue is dead, try something different

By MAINUL HOSEIN
14th-Feb-2014       
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In her testimony before the hearing at the US Senate Committee on foreign relations the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs on Tuesday Nisha Desai Biswal termed Bangladesh election of 5th January as deeply flawed said that it could have serious ramifications for stability as the election failed to express the will of the people. She expressed America's intention to see a transparent and inclusive election in Bangladesh. At the same time she expected our political and economic leaders would take right steps to support democratic values.We agree that not just political leaders but others have a serious role to play  because when people are not heard for the governance we are all affected irrespective of any party loyalty. The worrisome situation she mentioned is awaiting us all.It is a big disappointment to hear from Indian authorities that our government has gone by the letter of the book so there is nothing wrong about the election. Importantly, one has to know whose book it was? If it is not the people's Constitution then what book the Awami League government followed is not for us to know. It has executed a blueprint that is for sure.If it were our Constitution then also it had ceased to be ours' meaning people's Constitution when it was mutilated by the government purely to suit it's own interest in violation of the practices of parliamentary election anywhere. Multiparty election has also been made impossible. Everybody observed how easy it was for the government to make all inclusive credible election impossible. In our view whether the election was without the opposition or under the party government may not be all that important to some.  But to recognize a voter less election as people's election cannot be acceptable to any democrat on the pretext that "the letter of the  book" was  followed though not  the  meaning and purpose of the election.It has hurt our people sadly to see India, being the largest democracy and also being the country that helped us most in our liberation war can go against people's voting right and support an election not supported by any other democratic country of the world.India knows more than any other country the history of our liberation  war. We went for the liberation war when our voting right was not recognized to form the government in Pakistan. We relied on India's cooperation for the success of the democratic dispensation in free Bangladesh. Now we are being asked to live with voter less election. So the disappointment is deep when it is seen that India is not appreciating how democracy is being denied in Bangladesh. What is more distressing is the fact that the nation is getting dangerously divided in pursuance of selfish power struggle with perilous consequences. Short-sighted gain at the cost of long-term damage is not desirable or sensible.It is not constitutional to hold a voter less election and call it compliance  with the democratic Constitution.No amount of violence in the country whether by the opposition or otherwise offers excuses for denying people's vote to be elected as the people's government. To protect people's voting right is the government's responsibility.Whether the Indian diplomacy or the diplomacy of the Western countries has prevailed in Bangladesh election will certainly be  a factor in the context of geopolitics of the region. That should be a different concern for a different reason.What is urgent for the people of Bangladesh, which seeks friendship of all, is the uneasy calm now seen in Bangladesh. But there is no reason for believing that we have peace. The voices of anger and frustration within the country should not go unheard to India or the Western countries. We want collective efforts for holding the much needed election urgently. Please accept it that there is too much talk and too little governance. Threatening others is not politics of reconciliation. The government has to gather strength from within.We have had enough appeal and entreaties for dialogue without understanding that politics of dialogue has no place where there is only power struggle for spoils of power. If anything, the politics of dialogue has become more of an impossibility, now after the farcical election. More vested interests are poised against dialogue for a fresh election.We must have a fresh election to restore a people's government and secure national reconciliation. Peace and reconciliation are no longer a matter of party politics alone. The people's voting right must be restored to the people not for the benefit of failed and corrupt politics.We must all also think of new ways and find new ideas for the beginning of true democracy.We are sure that there are many in the Awami League as well as BNP who are realizing their mistakes and ready and willing to see politics taking a constructive take off.

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