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Bangladesh: Lift the Ban on Indoor Politics
[Opinion] Indoor politics in a limited way should be allowed
Golam Mustofa Sarowar (Golam)     Print Article 
Published 2007-09-01 17:58 (KST)   
There appears to be some confusion or even hesitation about lifting of the ban on indoor politics in Bangladesh to facilitate the Election Commission's proposed dialogue with the political parties.

I don't think there can be any fruitful dialogue if the political parties don't get the opportunity to discuss important issues within their own forums.

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There should be no confusion about this. Who will represent the parties in the dialogue? Similarly, no individual, whatever post he or she might be holding, can give any decision without discussing issues with party colleagues. But with the total ban on indoor politics, these discussions cannot be held.

If what law advisor Mainul Hosein says is correct, about the caretaker government's decision in this regard being influenced by the recent incidents in the country's campuses, then a way must be found to allow political leaders to present party instead of personal positions.

Bangladeshis understand the hesitation of the Caretaker Government (CG) but what is the alternative? Electoral reforms cannot be undertaken without the participation of those political parties that enjoy popular support.

After all, political activities shall have to be restored today or tomorrow. We are inclined to believe that after the recent jolts all the political parties are now conscious that politics means much more than corruption, black money and muscle power.

Responsibility and accountability are of crucial importance. It is also very likely that the public is also now more conscious about what they expect from their political leaders. The exposure by the CG of the extent of the corruption and plunder of our political leaders must have had a sobering effect on the electorate. I think the CG should fully exploit the situation so that very politician has to prove his credibility before seeking votes.

It is true that there are elements of risk. The unfortunate happenings on our campuses have added a new element to the situation. Will the major parties misuse their limited freedom if that freedom is allowed? Aside from the political parties, there many other disgruntled groups who have been badly hurt by the CG's campaign against corruption. There are businessmen, officials, mafia groups and many others who are on the run.

It stands to reason that they would take every available opportunity to create difficulties for the CG. It is possible they would try to fish in troubled waters. But that's part of the scene. But if the CG remains committed to its goals and keeps its eyes and ears open the situation will not get out of control.

But if the political parties refuse to take part in the dialogue with the ban on indoor politics and if that eventually leads to their boycotting the polls then the whole exercise will have been in vain. Taking everything into consideration, Bangladeshis believe indoor politics in a limited way should be allowed.
©2007 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Golam Mustofa Sarowar

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