It's a mistake
The Constitutional amendments voted into law on Thursday have many aspects. Today we will confine our comment on the care taker issue.
The scrapping of the caretaker government (CTG) system is a move towards brinkmanship that has pushed the nation towards political uncertainty. We do not fully share Khaleda Zia's view that now political confrontation has become inevitable but we definitely feel that possibility of that confrontation has greatly increased.
The ruling party has not been able to make any case for the abolition of the CTG system. In fact it did not even try. It took the Supreme Court verdict in part and used it to suit its political end- to hold the next election under their government.
They totally ignored the suggestion by the SC that, for the sake of peace, and public interest, elections "may" be held under the Thirteenth Amendment for the next two terms. This is a clear sign of insincerity and political opportunism. The inexplicable hurry to do away with CTG even though the next election is two and half years away reveals an attitude of arrogance and disdain towards the opposition and raises doubts whether the government was at all interested in opposition' views. For that matter there were no attempts to solicit views from a wider section of the public, like civil society, professional groups or even the academicians and constitutional experts outside the ruling party orbit.
Voters will remember how they had to suffer through relentless hartals, sometimes extending for 5-7 days when AL was agitating for the CTG system. For it to now turn and say that CTG is bad is an intellectual somersault that public will find it hard to accept. In fact it is a sign of how disdainfully public opinion is being treated.
BNP's agitation for midterm polls was completely devoid of either any logic or any public support. But now, thanks to the AL, BNP has a serious issue to galvanise public support behind. While we have always stood against hartal, and still strongly urge the opposition not to subject the economy to this onslaught, the possibility of such occurrences has been greatly increased due to this unilateral amendment of the constitution.
From all counts we consider the government's action to be a mistake, and from which government will have to extricate itself. Prime Minister said that she is open to further amendment of the constitution if the opposition gives its suggestions. Passing the bill and then soliciting suggestions is self contradictory. But if it is a genuine sign of accommodation, then the government should go much further and engage in confidence building measures with BNP and create openings to prevent the political crisis which looks inevitable.