ALL the registered politics parties have announced the names of their nominees to contest in the ninth parliamentary polls slated for December 29. But one gets a sinking feeling scanning through the list of nominees of the major political parties, particularly of BNP, as it has nominated large number of individuals who were so long in jail on the charges of crime and corruption under the Emergency Power Rules and released on bail.
Both the major parties, BNP and AL, ran up against so many problems including demonstrations, desertions and scattered clashes among the supports while nominating candidates that it tends to indicate that the nomination process of the parties was not participatory and transparent.
There are allegations that though the parties sought grass-root level opinions in deciding who to give nomination to, not much heed was paid to their opinion. Many who aspired to be BNP candidates alleged that a coterie of senior leaders was involved in the nomination trade and that explains why so many individuals of poor character are on the party ticket.
The people feel better as the returning officers have cancelled nomination papers of dozens of political bigwigs of the two major electoral alliances filed for the ninth parliamentary polls. At least 12 BNP candidates were declared unfit to contest the polls while six candidates of AL lost their candidatures due to non-payment of outstanding loan or bills and for conviction in corruption cases.
The army-led joint forces carried out drives against the corrupt politicians and captured at least 112 high profile politicians and businessmen including several former ministers and lawmakers of the major political parties after 1/11. It was really a commendable development for purging the polluted politics, bringing the top-most corrupt politicians to justice, who were hither to believed, to be immune from the normal law of the land.
The political parties were urged not to nominate individuals who are corrupt and have explicit criminal connections. But the trends manifested by the parties in nomination clearly suggest that qualitative change in politics is still a far cry.
Sadly, the political parties in the country hardly represent the people's beliefs, views and opinions. They do not even bring about the democratic polity for us giving a real reflection of the people's will. This is exactly why the electoral reforms were very crucial in determining the future course of politics in the country.
The High Court on November 30 upheld the constitutional provision for disqualifying a person from contesting parliamentary polls if he/she is sentenced to not less than a two-year term under the EPR. Some 75 political bigwigs of different parties are likely to be disqualified for contesting in the ninth parliamentary polls because of this HC's verdict.
The HC observed that rule 11(5) of the EPR "is effective subject to the provisions embodied in Article 66(2) (D) of the constitution." The EPR provision disqualifies a convict under its rule from contesting the parliamentary polls if his/her appeal against the conviction remains pending with the appellate court. Responsibility now lies upon the caretaker government to include this HC verdict in the Representation of the People Order Ordinance as its provision.
The much-anticipated parliamentary election of December 29 is now sure to take place, but in all likelihood it will not fulfill the ardent aspiration of mass people unless chances of politics going back to the square one is reduced through voting out the corrupt and criminal from the political landscape.
The CTG reportedly prepared a list of 140 politicians who were convicted in the special courts for corruption or facing trial on the charge of corruption and said to be pursuing to get assurance from the political parties concerned so that the listed leaders are not given party tickets for contesting in the forthcoming elections. But the initiative has become a futile exercise.
The people of Bangladesh are now really craving for the enlightened leadership of the people with wisdom, honesty, and ability. Their hearts almost bleed to see the looters and plunders of national wealth pontificate on honesty and integrity. Indeed, the nation is greatly frustrated as the major political parties have nominated these sorts of people to occupy the body of utmost honour and dignity.
One can take this opportunity to remind the political parties of their sacred responsibility towards ridding the political arena of the country from the grip of the corrupt and criminals. Both the BNP and AL have paid plenty after the political changeover on 1/11 because of having the corrupt and criminally associated individuals in their respective parties.