Quest for sensible politics
In the most conventional way political tongue-lashing, character assassination and talking out of context go on with greater intensity than anytime in the past. The utterances of top leaders (the PM and the opposition leader included) are instances of poor political legacy. Diatribes have been a common practice among all political parties across the globe.
But somewhere in this age-old practice choice of words is of crucial importance. For the comments and remarks made by political leaders are open to scrutiny by the public. All that they say reaches the common man and the critics have a way of interpreting them. If one had to comment on our political diatribes, it could safely be said that these are conspicuously lacking in tact.
Let's recall some of the comments made by the leaders of the government party and the opposition recently.
Home Minister Sahara Khatun was heard saying that Zainul Abdin incident with the police was treated partially by the media. She meant the TV had shown only the police atrocity on the opposition chief whip. What was the other side of the story or image of the event? Have we missed out on any bit of the high voltage action?
Begum Khaleda Zia seemed highly charged-up on the occasion of the token huger strike observed by followers of Bangladesh Nationalist Party(BNP) in the city last Wednesday to protest the scrapping of the caretaker government system and assault on the its chief whip Zainul Abdin Farroque.
While addressing the rally she termed the amended (15th) constitution an AL manifesto and said once in power her government would bin the constitution. Coming from the two times prime minister this went down as demeaning of the constitution.
Suranjit Sengupta did not waste time to react acridly. He termed the remarks as seditious and called upon the opposition leader to apologise to the nation for her comments on the constitution.
Dr. Kamal Hossain had a soft reaction to give. He thought no one had the right to say or do so.
The prime minister said, the opposition leader and her party did not need constitution as they were accustomed to grabbing state power. Both sides are not only being vitriolic but also impolitic.
Prme Minister Sheikh Hasina surprised many by labeling Khaleda Zia as mother of "thieves." She also reportedly observed that Khaleda Zia could only teach her sons to "steal." These utterances do not only behoove her position but also shocking to those who heard it. The prime minister should have known that such statements could only lead to hardening of position on the other side, when the matters she refers to are being dealt with under the law of the land.
State minister for law says, according to preliminary investigation report, Tarique Rahman has been found involved in the August 21 grenade attack. Since that is how it is, why make premature statement about it?
Away in New York, the opposition Chief Whip Zainul Abdin Farroque said, cops in Bangladesh are getting desperate and nobody is safe in their hands.
The leaders may beat each other in mud-slinging, character assassination or making out of context statements, but to the people they stand in low esteem. These have turned into pastimes as the real problems facing the country and the people take the back seat.
What do we make of all this falling standards of politics? One thing is pretty much clear, that the people feel that their aspirations are being dealt a severe blow.
What has gone wrong with our politics or our leaders? Increasingly they are losing touch with the people and the country is suffering. Today, they seem to be the most frustrated lot. Lack of leadership and loss of ideologies are the main reasons for their frustration. Today we question their policies and their patriotism. They visibly flail for answers to any valid questions, politics or otherwise. They must connect with the desperate anxieties of voters to see normalcy return to politics. They must get out of the habit of exceeding each other in the use of vitriol.
Lack of confidence in political leadership and impatience has seeped into all spheres of the society. The judiciary has to step in for settling practically all disputes. This is an ominous sign for socio-political system showing up a crack in the middle.
The law enforcing members have also shown the intolerance that has crept in their lives as well. They run out of "good sense" only at the slightest provocation.
The traffic system is totally broken down. Drivers are killing people at their will, most of the time the law is a silent onlooker. Impunity encourages the offenders to commit murders.
Traders are fleecing money from the hapless consumers. The syndicated members are so strong that the government sometime admits its limitations to control the culprits. And the girl students are no safer with their teachers.
People look up to the leaders for constructive leadership, not one of leading them to disaster.
The writer is Assistant Editor, The Daily Star
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