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31st-Mar-2015

Let CCs elections end brutalities of intolerant politics

By MAINUL HOSEIN

After the decision of the main opposition alliance to participate in the elections of three city corporations the fate of such elections has become a matter of intense speculation and it is heatedly debated. If the government is not ready to accept multi-party democracy then the hurriedly taken decision to hold the CCs elections is bound to be fraught with more violence and desperation.On the advice and active contribution of the Prime Minister's bureaucrat-cum-political advisers the last general election (January 5, 2014) was a voter-less bluff committed against the people. By ending people's election politics the government has become more and more dependent on police power. The prevailing situation is not easy for the government or the people. It is not good for the country either. The government has not proved competent to restore peace and order. Killing against more killing is not governance or helpful for normalization of the situation.   The true political leaders do not go by theoretical economic indicators, to them success is measured by improved human factors. And the human factors are horrifying now with no safety in public life and no hope for a better future under the present leadership. Extortions and killings for ransom have turned into an extensive business harassing the people at all levels. Even the police is not much of a help against them. Instances of alliance between them are not unknown.  The ministers are telling us of progress, but the people see progress of the corrupt ones and those who can break laws with impunity. The government is not prepared to realise, despite lawlessness in the country, that without allowing democratic space for peaceful politics, extremism will only grow proving unhelpful for governance. Don't listen to the self-seekers pushing the country going to the dogs. The political crisis can but be resolved through free and fair elections. But the Chief Election Commissioner who being an ex-government servant has also forgotten his high constitutional position and obligation only to remain an obedient government servant like before. The question is will the Election Commission will be able to show this time under the leader of its chief, respect to its constitutional position of public trust and its own independence? We cannot be a nation without backbones and character.Though it is thus clear that unless the Prime Minister and the election engineers of her government are ready to welcome the opposition there is no chance for the forthcoming elections of the city corporations of Dhaka North, Dhaka South and Chittagong to be fair or peaceful. It is said that the government is determined to have full control over the Dhaka City Corporations. The opposition led by BNP is in the midst of a dangerous and desperate movement all over the country. The confrontation with the police is disturbingly a frequent occurrence. Stealing the Dhaka City Corporations' elections will be a forceful impetuous for the movement but worse for the peace and safety in the country.  But the cause of the people's voting right, is not any party's cause, it is a cause of the whole nation. The government cannot see it that way.   The BNP has decided to take part with a lot of reservations as to whether or not the government will tolerate the opposition for a meaningful participation in the elections. One has to see what happens between now and 9th April when nominations will be finalised by the Election Commission. It is easy to conclude that the new planners of the politics of Awami League government are not for accommodating the opposition or to pay heed to the opposition demands for a level-playing field for the city corporation elections. These planners have no respect for the Constitution and it is a clear violation of the Constitution to have the opposition in the government denying the opposition its constitutional role of exacting accountability of the government. Still, we have to see the government as constitutional and defender of the Constitution.  We are being treated as an illiterate and dumb nation. The decision of BNP to join the elections is certainly a brave one in the background of all its prominent leaders are either under arrest or in hiding for fear of being arrested. From the police side threats of arresting anybody who has a case against him, is a bad omen especially coming from the police authority. It is unbelievable that Bangladesh politics can be so intolerant and so murderous where lives are easily lost and dead bodies are located in rivers and lakes floating. Only Saturday the body of a minister's elder brother was found in the Dhanmondi Lake in the capital city. Salauddin Ahmed a leader of BNP is missing and police claims no responsibility. The image of Bangladesh outside is that the country not safe for visiting. Many foreign garment buyers do not come to Bangladesh feeling unsafe. They come to Bangkok to meet our garment producers. It is our earnest hope that political leaders will learn from the mistakes and price of their arrogance the whole country is paying to realize the importance of democratic tolerance for peace and stability. The government should have known it more than us how perilous the country's situation is.