• Thursday, December 18, 2014

Freedom in the air

Current Affairs

Politricks

Shakhawat Liton
Shah Ahmed Shafi, Photo: Star File
Shah Ahmed Shafi, Photo: Star File

Nowadays, politics in Bangladesh looks dull and boring. The controversial and voter-less January 5 parliamentary election and the recently held widely rigged upazila election have changed the situation. A sense of panic centreing round abductions and forced disappearances has gripped the country. The government has miserably failed to stop these menaces.  
Yet, there were some interesting events in the last few days. Each of the events says something significant. A simple analysis may help to understand the current political situation. It may also give us a glimpse of the future course of the country's politics.
At least 50 to 60 BNP-Jamaat men have joined the ruling Awami League in Muladuli union in Ishwardi upazila in Pabna. The BNP men joining in AL does not mean anything significant. But it's a different ballgame altogether when members of Jamaat join the AL. It was reported by some newspapers that the AL and Jamaat had reached a consensus in some upazila parishads during the recent upazila election. In contrast, Jamaat leaders, a key ally of the BNP, in some upazilas challenged BNP-backed candidates and defeated them in some areas.
The spokesperson of Gonojagoron Mancha (GM), Imran H Sarker, was relieved from his post by some of its leaders. Things were different a year ago when the Mancha and the youths were the heroes of the times. Suddenly the Hefajat-e Islam (HI) had emerged to counter the youths. The GM protested the HI's demands. At that time, the ruling AL also strongly denounced the HI that had demanded the dismantling of GM. At that time, the AL has taken some political mileage from the youths' unprecedented movement. Now, the government thinks the GM has become redundant. And leaders and activists of the AL's front and associated organisations have quit the Mancha and have split it.
The story does not end here. After a year, the situation has taken a different turn. The government does not consider the HI a threat. The HI Ameer Shah Ahmed Shafi has recently made some intriguing remarks, saying he shares no enmity with the government. He has also said that the government, the AL and the BCL are their friends. The government is going to give a 32-crore railway land as lease to Shafi's madrasa in Chittagong.
All these developments related to Jamaat and Hefajat have prompted the BNP chief Khaleda Zia to express her suspicions as to whether the JI has reached a “secret understanding” with the Hasina government. At a recent meeting with senior leaders of her BNP-led alliance, she has also expressed her annoyance over Hefajat Ameer Shafi's recent comment that he has no enmity with the AL-led government. Khaleda, according to media reports, criticised the chiefs of the Khelafat Majlish and Islami Oikya Jote, two components of her party-led coalition, over their failure to “handle” the Hefajat chief.  
And many people still suspect that the government has been maintaining a "secret relation" with Jamaat. The only aim of this relation is to take political mileage by keeping Jamaat away from the BNP. If Jamaat is kept away, the BNP-led alliance will be weaker. This strategy will tremendously benefit Jamaat.


What will this politics offer people in the coming days? Destruction of a political process in a country pushes the nation towards chaos and uncertainty.
The writer is Senior Reporter, The Daily Star.

Published: 12:00 am Friday, April 25, 2014

Last modified: 1:57 pm Sunday, April 27, 2014

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