Do not put the genie out of the bottle
The more the General Election is approaching nearer more the thrills and suspense of drama in our political theatre is unfolding. BNP's decision to join election under the banner of Jatiya Oikya Front with its Party chief languishing in solitary confine, one of the Election Commissioners disagreement with his fellow colleagues over electoral process, Hero Alams' declaration to contend election and cricketer Mashrafee-Bin Murtaja's securing candidacy from ruling Awami League already made curious common people agog with excitement about upcoming polls. But most recently, surfacing of reports in the media about partisan role of Election Commission, indiscriminate arrests of opposition leaders and activists in ghost cases and rejection of their nomination papers by returning officers has made common people sceptic further about holding of a free, fair and transparent participatory election.
Despite this uncertainty People are getting introduced with variety of election centric slogans and demagogies: only compared to garish advertisements to attract consumers of regular commodities. They are witnessing how the politics; the very scripture of establishing fundamental rights turns into a sellable goods to be marketed.
In this so called business, we are regularly coming across through media how shamelessly our politics is becoming a sanctuary for brazen competition of illicit money and muscle by land grabbers, bank-looters, defected leaders and retired bureaucrats; how the honest and committed politicians investing whole life and getting subjected to harassments of all sorts: torture, jail and even threat with life, leave the market without any return.
After the fall of Ershad's decade long autocratic rule, an idea began to granulate in common people; there would be no more bar for democratic practices. But soon they were disenchanted with every successive political government growing lust for concentrating state power in the name of democracy; a base trend which is still in order. This trend has paved the way for some opportunists who blow hot and cold in the same breath to toy with politics. Such opportunists were active in Liberation War too.
Our political leader's tendency to trade the spirits of Liberation War and religion out of their divisive attitude has only led to the interests of these opportunists. And this division over spirit is such that who does not comply with the ideas of sitting government irrespective of political identity is either deemed as anti-liberation force or anti-Islamic force. In support and opposition of our politicians' so-called spirit trade, an intelligentsia emerged in course of time to broil with each other over political leftovers.
But this effort to divert peoples' sentiment and sympathy through trading of spirit does not hold water for long. It has been further evident from the joining of a number of pro-government leaders to Jatiya Oikya Front under the mark of Dhaner Shish. Government's relentless efforts to canvass BNP as an anti-liberation force are simply doing little. In fact the formation of Jatiya Oikya Front has totally changed the political calculations.
There is no alternative to hold free and fair election to keep the democratic train on track. And we should not forget where democracy fails to keep on its journey knowledge based and vibrant status quo becomes impossible inviting foreign interventions - an environment of extremism and separatist movements find there a fertile ground to germinate. This has happened in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt, Syria and elsewhere. Our politicians must keep it in mind that once the genie is out, it is not easier to put it back into the bottle. At least, on the backdrop of current world order, we cannot but opt for an election equal to minimum international standard.
As opposition political parties finally came up with constitutional constraint that there is no provision at present for the upcoming general election to be held under a non-partisan caretaker government, government should allow some concessions and tolerances too. It can reconsider opposition political parties demand for deploying of army on the election date. If our army can successfully oversee and monitor security and election in Liberia, Sudan, Congo and some other countries, why cannot they be deployed for greater national interest?
Elections held in Maldives are the most glaring examples that a government detached from people cannot prevent its defeat only depending on state machinery. Having resorted to all kinds of corruption and repressive measures, President Yemeni had to quit with humiliation.
The writer is a poet