There is no back door to enter the Jatiya Sangsad. Through restoration of the original 1972 Constitution of Bangladesh, in whose composition Jatiya Oikyfront leader Dr Kamal Hossain was a part, the murky means has been sealed off, permanently. And none has an objection to this move taken by the Awami League government. But those who have a complaint should shrug off their illicit greed for power of a country that emerged not to be yet again in the hands of the dark elements.
The message is clear. Through the much expected dialogue, set off on Thursday with holding talks with the Oikyafront, it has emanated that the road to parliament is not one corresponding to the old saying: “Veni, vidi, vici,” that a political party must work hard on field to reach every single citizen of the country to achieve the people’s mandate, and also that there should be no compromise over any constitutional issue.
While we hail the holding of dialogues among political parties — because it enhances beauty of democracy — we also think they should be held by remaining within the constitutional boundary, especially when the national election is concerned. True, democracy is an art of compromise. But compromise on what? On an issue that clearly goes into the jurisdiction of the Judiciary? Certainly that is not compromise for the sake of democracy but for personal gains. And of course we do not find any relevance to support that.
Most of the demands of the Oikyafront appear as unconstitutional and thus irrational. The original constitution of the country does not allow room for formation of a separate election-time government, dissolution of parliament before the polls schedule is announced, and deployment of army with magistracy power during the election. Should there be a consensus on capricious demands? Never.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina rightly said, in reply to the question of release of Khaleda Zia — Oikyafront’s first demand, “It’s not my issue. It’s a court issue. Please remember that I did not file any case against Khaleda Zia.” The cases were filed by the then caretaker government whose reinstatement Oikyafront has been campaigning for. If Sheikh Hasina resigns from the government, someone has to take over power. Who will? Another caretaker government? The alliance, BNP in particular, perhaps wants that they should be awarded the safest path to parliament through restoring the unelected government system (or caretaker government). But a democratic dispensation does not allow this, does it?
Sheikh Hasina, during the dialogue, aptly used an allusion, during the 1973 election “did Bangabandhu step down as prime minister to take part in the election? Or did he join the polls while remaining as the prime minister? You [Dr Kamal] yourself had participated in that election. Now India and several other countries follow this way. Then why are you asking me to resign?”
It is good to learn that the prime minister assured the Oikyafront leaders that the door for talks is open. It is also reassuring that the PM has promptly agreed to the issue of meetings and rallies while she said she had instructed the police to allow opposition men to hold rallies. The three and a half hour long meeting ended with another encouraging note that the election will be free and fair. There will be no rigging.
We think there is hardly any electoral issue left which the PM has not addressed. We hope for a participatory general election where parties will fight one another to win the confidence of the people of the country.