Some Odd Things Regarding BD Politics

Published on Friday, November 14, 2008

Rcently BNP-Jamat has realized after some ground surveys that they will fare terribly in the upcoming December 2008 polls in Bangladesh. According to Daily Bhorer Kagoj, 13th November, BNP-Jamat has a chance of victory only in Chittagong. And so they are spending time devising new strategies to delay the polls. If we observe their activities — yes they are actively pursuing the delaying program. Now they have added Hajj as an issue. However, the BNP-Jamat bloc says that the real issue is that they suspect the neutrality of the Election Commision. Is the EC neutral?

Recently Khaleda (BNP) and Hasina (AL), have decided (been forced?) to sit for talks. BNP wants talks to be private while AL wants public talks — televised. The talks if not televised will not be private… they will only be private from the people. However, it can only be assumed that foreign diplomats and governments will be privvy to the details of the discussion. So why keep Bangladeshi people out of the loop? The people of Bangladesh surely has had enough of 'secret talks'… What does Khaleda and BNP want to hide from the people. Are they planning to use unfair means to get their wish? Are they expecting undue help from foreingers? I say the people have a right to see what is being discussed — Khaleda and Hasina are not parents and the people are not underage minors. It is the future of the nation — and the people are the nation! No sneakiness should be allowed by the Bangladeshi people. Long has Bangladesh lived at the feet of other nations… the leaders have not been able to raise the country's image and economy… The leaders cannot be allowed to have secrets from the people. The people should know what is going on. Or the leaders who want to operate in the shadow should exit the stage!

Recently I observed something else that was odd. I am no fan of Hasina but I must say many in Bangladesh are. Over a million — around a million and a half people gathered to welcome her when she returned to Bangladesh. Though I think personally that this support is undue, it was a spectacular event. An unprecedented event... but the newspapers downplayed it subtley. The words used in the reports are not untrue but hides the true size of the welcome. Some newspapers reported 'thousands' — which implies less than 10 thousand people; a couple reported 100s of thousands — implying less than a million. Some avoided the reception gathering altogether as if it did not happen. Was there a secret government instruction to the newspapers — or are they hired by those opposed to Hasina.

Then something else happened — odd. Khaleda had been having secret talks with Hossain Zillur Rahman, an advisor of the current military government. Then she rushed off to Chittagong to hold a rally. The rally drew a lot of people and though they were all gathered together, unlike the AL reception, the number paled in comparision to Hasina's reception. Though it was a remarkable gathering — it was transformed into a 'show stealer' by news papers. Newspapers were aglow in reporting the event. Odd.

So why this bias reporting? And why was Khaleda's showdown not in Dhaka?

If one intends to compare the two parties — they would be overwhelmed by AL's showdown but if they search in the news — they would not be overwhelmed. They would find two equally popular parties — more or less, with BNP a bit larger. So if BNP performs better than what its smaller rally implies — and AL does worse than what their showdown implies — people wont be so shocked, as in the media they were evenly matched.

This implies that the door for a questionable election remains. If the news had been reported neutrally — election engineering would have been more blatant, difficult and more unacceptable.

Why not in Dhaka?

If BNP's showdown were in Dhaka — it would have been easier to compare... and newspapers would not have had a free poetic lisence. Easier to pull the wool over the people's eyes with the new location?

Why? Is the election commission and the govt really neutral? What do they want? Who helped organise the rally?

Personally I hope that people forget parties and start looking at candidates forcing both alliances to choose better candidates... and eventually get rid of half educated, ill-educated, corrupt, divisive and religiously extreme politicians who are servants not of the people but of money and foreign paymasters.

Che Etnesto Guenara is a member of Mukto-Mona and writes from Bangladesh. He can be reached at cheguevara at yahoo

Posted By Mukto-Mona Editor on behalf of Etnesto Guenara

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