The Discussion Agenda, 'The Third Force'
- 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
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.
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?