Ashraf’s Column

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Liberal Democratic Party

Finally the inevitable has happened. Col Oli Ahmed has formally announced the formation of a new political party in Bangladesh. Former President Prof. B Chowdhury has disbanded his own party Bikalpa Dhara and joined Col Oli. Bangladesh already has more than one hundred political parties. One may rightly raise the question, why should there be another one? The answer is: but for four or five parties the remaining are parties only on paper. Of the 4/5 parties with organisational set-ups and considerable followers only two parties are presently playing leading roles.

These are AL and BNP. After its great leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated in 1975 the leadership of AL was usurped by his family members without showing any respect to democratic practices. Similarly when the founding father of BNP, Gen Ziaur Rahman was killed in 1981 the leadership of his party was passed on to his family members without caring for democratic considerations within the party. The family members of these two parties have since been ruthlessly ruling, and not leading, their respective parties like medieval feudal lords with unlimited power and authority. Such rulers are always surrounded by sycophants and soon become highly corrupt in the absence democratic accountability.

From our experience of last 15 years when these two families, in the name of their respective parties, alternately ruled Bangladesh, we find height of sycophancy, corruption, politicisation of civil and military bureaucracy and bad governance. Of course, there are honest, dedicated and capable leaders in the rank and file of both these parties who love their respective parties for their ideologies. Voices of these honest leaders are stifled.

Their conscience is treaded under the heavy boots of the top party leaders. It appears some of these leaders from BNP, finding no other choice within the party, have finally revolted against the autocratic party leadership to form a separate political platform. They have named it LDP. It is strongly believed that after the BNP government hands over power on 28 October, 2006 many more honest and dedicated but frustrated leaders and workers from BNP will join LDP.

The situation in AL is not different either. Many honest and patriotic leaders and workers of AL have also been feeling suffocated under its present incompetent and corrupt leadership. If it is seen that LDP passes the test of time and is accepted as a popular democratic forum by the people the honest and frustrated leaders and workers of AL might as well revolt against its top leadership and come out of it openly. On coming out whether they will form a separate party of their own, or will join hands with LDP is difficult to say now. However, it will be good for the country if all such good people from all sectors come out and unite under one leadership.

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