Bureaucratic government's bureaucratic trick won't help03 March 2015 Editorial Desk
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad on Sunday said, schedules for elections to three City Corporations of Dhaka South, Dhaka North and the port city of Chittagong would be announced soon following government instructions in this regard. He said people want these elections and whether or not all political parties take part, all three polls will take place as per the schedules. He said election schedules will be announced in two weeks time however, following discussions with other ministries and agencies whose supports are essential to make available school grounds, polling centers, mobilization of polling officers and law enforcers at the time of election. He said this is an election to be held on non-partisan basis and hoped people would take part in large number to elect their candidates to run the city houses. He said Dhaka city dwellers were eagerly waiting to elect new mayors to replace government appointed administrators to run the city administration. He said election to Chittagong City Corporation is scheduled for July this year but it is better to hold all three elections at a time although election to undivided Dhaka City Corporation was overdue since 2007. He hoped law and order situation would improve by this time to hold the polls peacefully. On the controversy over the January 5 parliamentary election; which he had conducted without participation of the major opposition and now the cause of a national disaster, he said he had tried his best to persuade all political parties, but not all of them joined it. This time he would also try to persuade all, but elections to all three city corporations will take place even if all parties do not join the polls. At present the Election Commission (EC) is rearranging the voter rolls and fixing the polling centers, he said.As we see the CEC's remarks were no assurance to anybody. The fact is the Chief Election Commissioner will do what the government wants him to do as before. No Election Commission can go about ignoring its constitutional independence for public trust in elections. There would not have been the government's justification of the last general election that though flawed and voter less but it was a constitutional obligation to hold the election within time. But the prime minister had to promise a fresh election. Now it is completely forgotten.No fresh election will be held because the government cannot have dialogue to be held with BNP because of its alliance with the Jamaat, an Islamic party. Even with Begum Khaleda Zia no dialogue is acceptable because she is a terrorist in the eye of the government. Only bureaucratic government can take politics that easy way.A general election is not a matter to be decided by the question which part is acceptable to which party. The general election is a matter for the people to decide who have the people's support to form the government. It is also not a matter of BNP to say that it will not have dialogue with a democracy killer party running the government in alliance with leftists who do not believe in democracy and who never got a single seat in the parliament on their own.It sounds ridiculous when the CEC says that law and order will improve soon to hold the mayoral elections. The main reason for such observation is that the government has accepted the advice of the bureaucrats as a trick to divert the attention from the crisis of the movement for a fresh general election as promised by the prime minister. Anybody with any political sense will know even if it is accepted as a pure power struggle then also the present movement will take a more vicious turn .The mayoral elections will not divert the movement's attention. So mayoral elections will be held no matter what is the law and order situation and election results will be announced obliging the government according to the government's plan. So the less the Chief Election Commissioner speaks the more respectable he will look.Mayors of Sylhet City Corporation and Habigonj City Corporations have already been suspended and replaced by ruling party men. As it appears, we have a so-called democratic system now in practice in which the wish of the ruling party men decides the election outcome while holding the election is just an eyewash at the cost of tax-payers money. Nobody is working any way. It should be clear that the government is not anxious to make the city corporations representative of the people for activating the corporations.The issue is the general election for the people's mandate for the government. The present government is guided by the retired job seeking bureaucrats and their bureaucratic trick will not be helpful for evading the real crisis of denying people a fresh general election. The government is fighting to remain in power and that is no ideological fight.The danger is the government's undemocratic and intolerant politics is helping the extremist forces. The general people will suffer more extremism and more violence. What is needed is politics and political leadership with popular support. Police cannot maintain law and order where politics is anti-election. Extremism grows under police state. Any politician should know it.