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The Discussion Agenda, 'The Third Force'

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  • Afroza Begum
    Dear Alochoks, In the present context, a new force is aspiring to emerge in Bangladesh politics, outside the Four Party Alliance (Who are in the Government
    Message 1 of 116 , Jan 2, 2004
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      Dear Alochoks,

      In the present context, a new force is aspiring to emerge in
      Bangladesh politics, outside the "Four Party Alliance" (Who are in
      the Government now) and the "Awami League" (Who are the main
      opposition party in the present parliament). This new force is being
      termed by the press media as the, 'Third Force'.

      We know that, as result of mass movement led by the "Tri-dolio-jote",
      consisting of BNP, AL and other small political parties, following to
      the fall of General Ershad and his JP in 1990, a national election
      was held under a 'Neutral Care-taker Government' of Justice
      Sahabuddin'. Through that election two major political parties,
      namely AL and BNP got almost all the seats with JP of General Ershad
      and others bagging some small number of seats. With the 12th
      amendment brought in the constitution, Parliamentary form of
      Government was re-introduced.

      After, Dr. Kamal Hossain resigned from AL; in 1993 he was the first
      to take initiative for the emergence of a political platform outside
      the then main two trends of AL and BNP. He floated a new political
      party by the name of 'Gono Forum' and later took initiative to form
      the '11 Party Alliance', but those were not able to gain much
      strength to challenge the strength and support of either AL or BNP.

      During the period from 1990-2003, we have seen that either BNP or AL
      were elected to form the Governments successively in 1991 (BNP), 1996
      (AL) and latest in 2001 by Four Party (BNP+JI+IOJ+ a faction of JP)
      alliance led by BNP.

      During the last 13 years of rule of either BNP or AL, people of
      Bangladesh have evaluated and observed that both the major political
      Parties have suffered from some common vices which have tremendously
      affected the body politic of the society. As result of which during
      the passing of long 13 year, there had been very little and in few
      cases even negative advancement made in the major areas like (a) To
      make the democratic institutions to function properly, like the
      Parliament & the Parliamentary Standing committees; (b) De-
      centralization of the Executive Power by establishing and making the
      local governments functioning, (c) To establish rule of law by making
      the Judiciary strong and independent from the Executive power, (d)
      Administrative reforms to establish transparency and accountability
      in the Executive and,(e) Economic reforms to improve the pace of
      economic development and reduction of poverty, etc.

      Neither AL nor BNP took sincere effort to establish national
      consensus on major issues involving the common welfare of the

      On the other hand several detrimental trends practiced by both the
      parties i.e. BNP and AL, made the situation so worse that a large
      section of the people appears to be have become completely
      disillusioned and hopeless about the capability of these two main
      political parties to be able to undertake the task of smooth
      functioning and the governance of the state while they stay in power.
      The major examples, which may be cited here are: -
      1) Both AL and BNP had shown their extreme intolerance in
      evaluating the rightful contribution of the others main leader,
      namely Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Shahid President Ziaur

      Although, it may be recalled that, both of these two national leaders
      apart from their few mistakes left for criticism which were not
      necessary to be mentioned time and again to escalate rivalry and as
      such I also did not want to mention them here again, but to deny the
      real legacy of their tremendous contribution for the liberation of
      our country which can never be wiped out from the minds and the
      hearts of the Crores of Bangladeshis who are still alive and witness
      to those all, had been indeed unrealistic approach took against each
      other by BNP at large and AL to some extent.

      Nobody can deny that, immediately after the war of liberation AL
      under the leadership of Bangabandhu successfully established a
      popular Government, re-established law and order and commenced the
      work of reconstruction of Bangladesh ravaged by 9 months war of

      Nobody similarly can deny that, after the fateful assassination of
      Bangabandhu, when Bangladesh stood motionless and directionless for
      about 2 months 21 days, and then through a popular upsurge of the
      members of the armed forces joined in hand with a section of the
      people, General Ziaur Rahman, remembered by the People as one of the
      valiant freedom fighter, assumed power and led the country to re-
      establish multi-party democracy and to undertake steps of several
      economic reforms both in the agriculture and industrial sector to
      open up the door towards democracy and development. Unfortunately,
      General Ziaur Rahman was also assassinated in 1981 and then General
      Ershad promulgated Military Rule and later ruled the country through
      a self styled civil government led by Jatio Party, which gathered to-
      gather a bunch of opportunist, corrupt sycophants in the name of

      Nobody can deny that both Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Sahid
      President Ziaur Rahman are extremely respected by the common people
      but were assassinated as result of national and international

      But, after the assassination of Ziaur Rahman, the inherited
      leadership of BNP took to a very wrong attitude and still continuing
      to deny the unprecedented political leadership and role of
      Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for the emergence of independent
      Bangladesh. On the other hand AL also never showed their broadness to
      extend sincere and proper acknowledgment to the other socio-political
      and military forces other than AL or the personalities close to AL,
      for the positive contribution to the long lived socio-cultural and
      political campaign since the language movement that occurred in 1952
      and then followed by the 9 months military campaign in 1971 for the
      emergence of Independent Bangladesh.

      The narrow tunnel vision took by both these two major political
      parties is vitiating the environment of practicing a constructive
      democratic process that requires both co-operation and opposition
      between and among the political parties in the broader concept of a
      democratic process to function.

      2) The second issue that is contributing to the failure of both
      these two major political parties in common that, as result of long
      era between 1975-1990, when never a proper democratic political
      Government was functioning, the forces in power systematically
      patronized the anti-social, criminal, opportunist, corrupt, non-
      political and anti-liberation elements to usurp into the body politic
      of our country, for support in protecting their seat of power. In the
      process, the ideology based healthy political process eroded at large
      and the places and positions of socio-political leadership slipped on
      to the hands those evil elements. After the fall of Ershad, when it
      was expected by the people that through the process of political
      consensus both BNP and AL will honour their commitment to establish
      democracy and rule of law and they will undertake the task of
      returning Bangladesh in to the long cherished tradition of
      ideological based politics and thus shall wage a fight against those
      evil forces to eliminate and oust them from the political arena. But,
      unfortunately in their own bitter struggle for grabbing power, both
      BNP and AL rather chose to give those evil elements strong shelter
      and chose the path to use them against the other.

      As a result, both of these two major political parties failed to
      maintain rule of law during their term in power, and they
      systematically evaded from their solemn commitment made in the signed
      document of declaration made in 1990, popularly known in Bangla
      as, "Tin Joter Rup-rekha" to give independence to the Judiciary and
      the electronic media (BTV).

      Irony that, both of these democratic political parties i.e. BNP and
      AL failed to realize that, indeed this mistake is going to cost both
      of themselves dearly in the long run by losing their popular support
      of the common mass, which had been in fact for long their real base
      of political strength to elevate them to the position of the major
      political parties in Bangladesh.

      3) The third issue that people has invariably seen that, during
      the rule of these two parties, bribery had been rampant from the
      topmost authority up to the lowest strata of the executive. The
      criteria for assuming public positions and securing Government
      contracts were indeed in auction.

      4) The fourth issue that, people has seen that the organized
      criminals got shelter into those parties, and the civil
      administration had to collaborate to shelter their misdeeds, to much
      suffering to the common people. The right of peace and security of
      law-abiding peace loving people was not the priority of the law
      enforcing agencies.

      5) The fifth issue that, people has seen that poverty and
      unemployment have increased, investment has decreased, the uneven
      distribution of wealth continued, the infra-structure development was
      slow, inflation and cost of living is increasing and there is no
      control of the Government over the profit mongering hoarders of
      essential consumer goods.

      I understand that, in the above context of the situation the
      discussion of , `Third Force', is coming in to the media, but the
      questions are :

      (i) Whether the grand coalition of Dr. Kamal Hossain and his 11
      Party alliances, Kader Siddiqui, Professor Muzaffar and B. Chowdhury,
      is going to realize?

      (ii) If it is going to realize at all, is it going to get the
      confidence of the People?

      (iii) Even if it can earn the necessary support, whether they are
      sincere to their commitment and indeed are clear in their mind that
      they can indeed solve the problems cited in the foregoing and deliver
      the goods up to the demand and expectation of the people?

      (iv) Are they all indeed each other in harmony with the
      commitments they want to make for the People?

      These are all un-answered questions at this moment. As such, the
      possibility of a rise of a positive alternative democratic force led
      by these people is still an uncertainty, and much fear has been
      expressed that whether BNP and AL is going to continue to commit
      their mistakes and make the stage ready for another anti-democratic,
      fascist, fundamentalist and autocratic political change in
      Bangladesh, much to the dismay of the People of Bangladesh?

      I feel, if BNP and AL will be late, particularly if BNP would be late
      as they are now in the Government, the change will come and it will
      go against them the both, when BNP as a party will be harmed the most.

      Afroza Begum

    • Manzur Elahi
      Alochoks, Lets be realistic. The government staff has a family to feed. Who knows, probably in addition to his immediate family he has his old parents,
      Message 116 of 116 , Apr 2, 2004
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        Lets be realistic. The government staff has a family to feed. Who knows, probably in addition to his immediate family he has his old parents, brothers, sisters�to bear their expenses.How much salary does he get? Can he even pay his house rent with the salary ?

        When you give a person a job knowing that the salary won�t even meet his minimum requirment are you not facilitating in his crime. The same is true for our police and other govt. services. One might argue: why then most university teachers don�t do corruption? The answer is: they don�t have any scope or ability.

        Our �atlectuals� (so called intellectuals) still think corruption stems from some sort of moral decadance whose remedy is �preaching� and strict law!!!

        In the west economists and social researchers have written a plenty of literature about corruption and suggested its way out. But as our politicians talk all rubbish from their whim most of our �atelectuals� talk from their commonsense.

        Unless some rational guidelines are being offered corruption will continue to carry on.


        In response to:

        Thanks to alochok Manzur for raising the most practical other side of the coin that we most often missed.

        He said at one point, "One might argue: why then most university teachers don�t do corruption? The answer is: they don�t have any scope or ability."

        Some may answer the reason that university teachers have other opportunities in terms of doing consultancy and part-time teaching in private universities that ensure their solvency so they might not have to think of corruption.

        Is there such part-time opportunity exists for our government staff in general?

        [M: TJ]
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