Dhaka, Bangladesh
Politics seems turning more fractious

Politics seems turning more fractious

Alliances falter, discord in parties manifest, civil-society outfits harping on vote conduct following EC report

News Special: Politics seems turning more fractious following the national and local elections. The more distinct is the rift in the mainstream opposition-intra-party and intra-alliance. The previous ruling coalition looks standing apart. There have been serious disagreements and distance within the opposition BNP and its allies over the last parliament election and movement for release of the party's jailed chief and ex-PM, Khaleda Zia. The BNP-led 20-party alliance was virtually put on the sidelines to yield place to a new election coalition-Jatiya Oikya Front-led by jurist-politico Dr Kamal Hossain. Eventually a rift in the 20-party lineup got exposed as Barrister Andaleeb Partho of BJP broke away. Col Oli Ahmed followed suit, floating 'Jatiya Mukti Mancha' avowedly to launch a movement for freeing Khaleda Zia and 'freeing democracy' through fresh polls. And the Jatiya Oikya Front rallying strange bedfellows-which already had looked loosened by dissents over poll participation and joining parliament-suffered a jolt with Bangabeer Kader Siddiqui of Krishak-Sramik Awami League saying good-bye. He also cited incapacity of the front to deliver on its promises. On the ruling front, the outcome of the eleventh parliamentary election that gave the Awami League a hefty majority of its own led to leaving its left allies Workers Party and JSD out of cabinet and virtually of the 14-party alliance as they were asked to take seat in the opposition alongside the officially designated opposition party, Jatiya Party, which also contested the December-30, 2018 polls under the AL-led Grand Alliance. The two ministers in the previous cabinet of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina from the two parties-Rashed Khan Menon and Hasanul Haq Inu-made some observations about conduct of the voting in the general election and now speak critically about government policies and unwarranted acts in the country. Some analysts, however, quip they are after a comeback for cabinet jobs. And they themselves say that they contested the election in a coalition and should government the country together. "I asked people to vote for the boat so how I can now call on them to remove this government from the opposition," Menon says on a note of wonder. In the rank of the ruling party there had been visible dissatisfaction over nomination for the national as well as local-body elections as a good number of leaders and ex-MPs were left out to accommodate many new faces, analysts say. Particularly in the upazila elections, the dissatisfaction got exposed through rebellion in setting candidates. There were clashes, and MPs, UP-UZ chairmen and local AL leaders landed in open rivalries backing rival candidates. Party action comes now against the rebels. The AL hierarchy in a meeting Friday decided to issue show-cause notice against those who "opposed the candidates who contested polls with the boat as symbol", media reports said. Many a political analysts likened the prevailing ambiance on the political front to an 'apolitical situation' for a lack of political activities from both sides of the isle. "And this portends bad, as is evident in manifestation of various unwarranted criminal acts and menaces," said Prof AK Fazlul Haque-and many others who appear at talk shows nightly speak in agreement. The opposition BNP, its allies and some left outfits are calling for fresh polls to bring back normal political activity which they say is imperative to maintain social harmony and peace. Of late, some civil-society groups became vocal on the same count following a recent report published by the election commission on the last general election that showed cent-percent ballots cast in some polling centres and some opposition candidates polling nil. The prime minister, in her address to the party meeting Friday, had some implicit remarks on the critics of different hues. She said those who oppose development don't like democratic practice in the country. Coming down heavily on a section of people, the Prime Minister said they always see government's works in a negative way. "They don't want the continuity of democratic [practices]. Their prices go up when an abnormal situation prevails in the country." She made a call for all to work with a synergy to maintain Bangladesh's graduation to a developing country through the final assessment, due in 2024.

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