For now, the Awami League and its allies have crossed the January 5 mark. Thank God election day is over! The government is extremely cheerful about the outcome. But the mainstream populace finds nothing to be pleased about. It has been the worst one ever, they say.
It’s been an extensive tug of war. The ruling alliance has managed to keep it in their domain. The opposition clout, so thinks the government, has been deactivated by a range of plans and deeds.
I suggested in this column a few months back that the 10th parliamentary elections would be held sans BNP and the AL would come out victorious to form the next government. The main opposition BNP and its allies just might not be smart enough to prevent any such act that the ruling AL planned.
I further commented that Ershad’s Jatiya Party, a few Islamic parties, left-leaning groups, and other smaller ones would participate. (Unsurprisingly, the newly formed Bangladesh Nationalist Front (BNF) is also in the fray, and that too from the capital’s elite constituency – Gulshan!) The picture is no different than what I thought it would be.
While the ruling party members were busy planning things for voting in the remaining 147 constituencies, a few smaller groups formed an alliance to – what they call – fight for people’s rights. Dr Badruddoza Chowdhury, Kader Siddiqui, and ASM Abdur Rab have come together under a streamer of National Democratic Front.
How far this will help marshal the people remains to be seen. We are yet to know what else they have to offer.
At this point in time, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of Arvind Kejriwal comes to mind. In such a short span, the party formed a government in Delhi. Kejriwal has set an example of how aam aadmi (common man) can make a difference, how the people can reject corruption and violence, and how people matter when it comes to deciding the fates of politicians and parties. No other political party in the world has managed to form a government within a year of its birth.
In this land, our aam aadmi still lives in a figment of their imagination doled out by influential people. They are yet to gain the authority and wisdom to decide on their choices in the polls.
Regrettably, the common man doesn’t know the power he possesses. Until dawn arrives, he will never manage to exercise his will and fulfill his wishes.
The histories of the AL and the BNP have their differences in the contexts of their birth. The time and necessity were different. The changed thoughts and realities were on separate planes.
Actors in the political stage represented varied classes and interests. Both the parties were born out of historical inevitability. However, their principal aim was to serve the people and ensure their democratic rights. Both failed, like it or not!
Over the years, the people’s roles or needs in politics have been changed by the emergence of various schools of political thought, their needs, and their assessments.
If you take a closer look, people and religion are now being used with so much expediency, that one has lost track of the conventional or methodical classification, and the role of both.
Our forefathers said democracy was for the people and of the people. It is the people that will decide the fate of the state and its affairs.
This decision will be taken through a plebiscite. People will be allowed to express their opinions through the casting of ballots. Things will work according to the decisions of the majority. This was how the people’s mandate had been taken into consideration over time.
Centuries on, we are exercising the practice in various manners, and trying to modernise the system, so that we can encompass some type of flawless opinion casting.
The lust for power and privilege, the politics of vengeance, and fear of defeat have virtually destroyed the democratic prospects of this land.
We have been happily forgetting people’s interests and their wishes. Their demands are so miniscule and limited that they escape our powered spectacles.
It appears that they are villains of the society into which they were born and raised. They have been brought to their knees and routinely mistreated like no other beings.
Their conked craniums, bleeding mouths, gouged-out eyes, crushed ribs, charred surfaces of their bodies, what-have-you – every imaginable repugnant act and scene will fall short to match our current human holocaust.
The ruling party stands for the people’s rights, so it forces its way through the elections in the name of the constitution. The opposition speaks of the people’s right to vote, and declares non-cooperation and imposes blockades.
Unknown assailants douse the innocent to vent their perverted angst. Forces of the government shoot agitating figures to protect people’s property and bring peace.
Everything is for the people, never mind if they are vanishing.