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Confrontational politics, desperate citizens and the urgency of now

by Obaidur Rahman

Ruling party men beat up an opposition activist in the capital Dhaka on March 12. — New Age photoRuling party men beat up an opposition activist in the capital Dhaka on March 12. — New Age photo

AS THIS article is being written, Dhaka is experiencing the gradual progress of the opposition’s March 12 grand rally along with the virtual lockdown of the capital Dhaka. Without a doubt, the political scene is getting extremely volatile and cynical. No political party, it seems, is willing to give its counterparts any space whatsoever, let alone any credit, and display a shred of civic decency that is so desperately needed to ease up the frantic political gridlock that the country is experiencing now. Such confrontational politics has been on for quite a long time and, without a doubt, poses a nuisance for the peace-loving and law-abiding citizens.
In a democracy, equality must be celebrated and maintained at any cost. The political parties, both ruling and opposition, need to be careful about their party activities so that these do no end up causing inconvenience to the people large. The people want this country to prosper and progress; they also want political leaders they can be proud of. Sadly, however, the mainstream parties, instead of politically competing, sought to overpower each other through violent means.
One wonders why so much bitterness exists in Bangladesh politics. Even in the case of the Arab-Israeli crisis, the two sides, which have fought several brutal wars causing deaths of and injuries to thousands of people over the past several decades, often meet, discuss and ponder over the possibility of lasting peace. While political analysts believe lasting peace in the Middle East is highly unlikely, at least there are efforts to achieve it. But, in Bangladesh, efforts to ease up bitter conflict are rarely seen. Each seems to think that it is better and more worthy than the other to rule and govern the nation and that its opponent is irrelevant, insignificant and utterly worthless who deserve nothing but humiliation. The people may be at the end of the with this hostile nature of politics which only serves the respective parties and their hyper enthusiastic followers who are seemingly out to make a quick buck at the expense of dedicated party workers and at the misery and sufferings of the common people.
Often, it seems, the sole objective of the political parties is to come to power at any cost rather than to serve the nation’s true needs and concerns. It seems that the sole objective is to grab and cling onto power as long as possible and make the best of the power to attain as much material gains as possible even if the process translates into a great deal of misery and sufferings to the common people. And this is why it seems most of their party activities are centred on strategies that would put and keep them in the power rather than serve the people with honest and sincere intentions. And these truly explain why the nature of Bangladesh’s politics is so violent and confrontational. Every party here wants to be in power because the longer one gets to be in power, the better are the chances for these so-called politicians to be surrounded by luxuries and materialistic merchandises and the way these cash and luxuries are attained are not necessarily legal. Often the competition between political parties is not from a nationalistic point of view but, it seems, simply out of blinding greed to be in power and exercise the authority to acquire financial gains. Perhaps this is why some of the familiar faces of Bangladesh’s politics are also some of the richest persons in the country.
But this should never have been the case. How the political establishments have stooped so low is both a matter of shock and awe to the countrymen. It seems the major political parties consider this great country as their personal property and they and only they have the right to do whatever they please, whenever they desire. Such mafia-like mindset and combative attitude towards each other has, so far, brought nothing but a great deal of distress to the countrymen. Needless to say, many hundreds of lives were lost, thousands more wounded and the utter destruction national and private properties worth millions of dollars in such political practices. Now the general populace humbly asks who’s to shoulder the responsibility of such sufferings. If the country’s so-called politicians had any extent of respect towards the country and its citizens, they wouldn’t have caused such humiliation, adversity and agony to the common country men, women and children.
When will these violent and bitter political cultures of Bangladesh will come to an end, nobody knows. But these are indeed desperate times and the citizens are desperate to see a peaceful outcome of from all of these entire political nuisances. Because when the country’s supposed political elites are at a gridlock the countrymen feel like hostage to a drama that has nothing to with them at the first place. They are also victims of these injurious political practices that are fruitful to neither any national cause nor anybody but these political leaders and their band of hoodlums who get benefited by these meaningless and murderous political actions.
Political favouritism is a big problem in Bangladesh. Instead of considering the people’s well-being, most political leaders seem to come up with solutions that only serve their egotistical needs. But this needs to change and all political parties must uphold national interest above their partisan and personal interests. Only and only then they will get to see eye to eye with the common countrymen and maybe then, perhaps, they will realise how frustrated the common man is with the present way of politics.
As much as versatility is celebrated in democracy, these different political parties must remember that it is the people who are the ultimate source of power as well as the true authority of the country. Thus, all political activities should be centred on the general populace’s overall well-being, involving causes that all people can identify themselves with. This certainly is not too much to ask for since all political parties claim that they are for the people, with the people and by the people. It’s about time they prove so by their actions.

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