The election to the 10th Jatiya Sangsad is roughly 48 hours away, according to the schedule announced by the Election Commission in midst of the conflict between the two major political parties — the ruling Awami League and the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party. The BNP-led alliance has not changed its decision on not participating in the election and continued with its agitation. HM Ershad, chairman of the Jatiya Party, is practically detained. A certain segment of the Jatiya Party wants to take part while the rest has decided to shun the election.
The government has recently deployed the police, the Border Guard Bangladesh, the army across the country. They are trying to resist blockade, procession and march organised by opposition parties. The government may claim that the security and law enforcement forces are preventing subversive activities to ensure public safety and to hold fair elections. The opposition parties on the other hand claim that they are observing hartal, blockade and other programmes to protect democracy. However, it seems, both sides are going about in circles. There is little people can do to escape this situation.
The most widely accepted definition of democracy has been given by the American president Abraham Lincoln. He stated ‘democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people’. Political parties exist to represent democracy. Autocrats can claim as much as they want that they are for the people but they are not by the people if there is no system of participation by all political parties in the election.
The government is behaving like an autocratic regime. If it really wants to do that, it should not pretend that it is doing what it is doing to protect democracy. Arresting opposition political leaders and activists, harassing them are not the signature of a democratic government.
Democracy really demands people’s participation in the government through voting their representatives to power. If the Awami League government really wants to obstruct other political parties through such repressive tactics, then it is anything but democratic.
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HOW is it a democracy when the top leaders of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led opposition alliance are imprisoned and the leader of the opposition and BNP chairperson is practically... Full story