Asking for dialogue is no solution: Save dying democracy

30 October 2014 Editorial Desk

The call reiterated by visiting British Minister Lynne Featherstone for an inclusive election in Bangladesh seems to have had no impact on the incumbent government. The visiting UK minister for international development in Dhaka said 'the last election is constitutionally correct but disappointingly, half of the constituencies were uncontested'. She also urged for engagement in political dialogue between the stakeholders. The negative comments linked to us with the voter less January election is nothing more than a shameful blight. But the ministers are rather busy begging legitimacy against illegitimacy from the international community ignoring dialogue.
The British Minister's call for dialogue is good in democratic politics, but what we have is not politics but fight for power grabbing. Another aspect of our helpless situation is the influence of active outside forces in our internal power snatching politics. India being our closest neighbour its influence surprisingly is not helpful for democracy. International community is not being as helpful as it should be to save the dying democracy in Bangladesh. But in a situation available in Bangladesh, both democracy and the arrangement for holding an impartial, fair and inclusive election have been denied by a show of state power. Some outside forces supplied strength to this process.
The consensus constitutional arrangement for impartial election under a neutral caretaker government has been ended arbitrarily, so that the sitting government can avoid defeat by the people's vote. And the only country that accepted legitimacy of the 5th January election is India. That is India is playing very active role in our internal politics, knowing fully well that Bangladesh is going down the road of one-party government making all democratic institutions, including the judiciary, subservient to the party in power.
The constitutional provision of caretaker government for umpiring over the election process fairly and independently has already been undone by the party in power. The farcical Jan 5 election (with 153 seats where people 'claimed to be elected' uncontested) proved that democracy and election mean nothing, the Awami League must remain in power.  
However, the British Minister's observations only indicates that the govt-in-office still suffers from legitimacy crisis and it simply negates the government's talk that the entire world has accepted them as a duly elected government and won over the world's democratic clubs.
The people of Bangladesh stand for democracy and that is the reason why the sitting government knows it cannot face popular election.
The people of Bangladesh are living with crisis of democracy and violence. Nowhere a new democracy can gather strength and survive without international help. Our people are ample proof for democracy by the fact that the government is not ready to face free election.
The international community must help us to save democratic institutions.

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