Talking polls and beyond:Emergency to keep criminals away

daily star

Says Badiul Alam Majumdar about polls
Secretary of Shushashoner Jannoy Nagorik (Shujan) Badiul Alam Majumdar favours keeping the state of emergency in force during the upcoming parliamentary elections to keep away criminal elements from contesting the polls.

“There was no problem during the local elections held under emergency. People cast their votes freely. Convicted criminals will benefit if emergency is withdrawn. Is that in our interest?” he said in an interview with The Daily Star.

He demanded steps to prevent musclemen and black money holders from influencing the election.

He said a few activities of the caretaker government cannot be supported. “It intervened by creating reformists and non-reformists in political parties, which aroused serious suspicion in the minds of people and eroded support for government,” he noted.

The country director of the Hunger Project-Bangladesh alleged that the Election Commission has shown negligence in scrutinising candidates’ information and enforcing electoral rules in the local election.

He also criticised the commission for unnecessarily lengthening the dialogue process with political parties over changes in the Representation of the People Order.

Linking the 1/11 changeover to the failure of political parties, Badiul said Bangladesh’s democracy is an “ineffective election-only system”, which has turned into “lootocracy”.

“I have not seen any instance of soul-searching or real repentance [by politicians] for mistakes,” he said, expressing scepticism that political parties would practise the changes they recently brought in their constitutions.

He believes it is not easy to convict all the plunderers because people dealing with corruption cases do not have the expertise required to unearth sufficient evidence. The task also became unmanageable because of so many arrests.

“We do not have a civil society as such. What we have is partisan intelligentsia who reap benefit from political parties and speak for them,” Badiul said, noting that the number of people with independent mind has declined to an alarming level.

Reference by: The Daily Star, 7 November 08
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