Has quality of politics and politicians declined?
RECENT findings lend support to the common wisdom which asserts that there has been a steady erosion of public faith in politicians and the political system. People felt that politicians had given Bangladeshi democracy a bad name. Today the image of parliament that emerges from television is more akin to a boxing ring. Some would attribute the bedlam to the nature of Bangladesh's polity.
In contrast to the dour and forbidding manner of its Western counterparts, the parliament of Bangladesh is seen as a lively reflection of the country's socially and culturally diverse polity. And yet, parliament must function with a minimum consensus or risk being reduced to irrelevance in the public eye, with the attendant danger of popular disillusionment with the democratic process itself. Unfortunately, the rot may be already running too deep, with parliament habitually lurching from session to unproductive session, with bills and debates on key issues taking the backseat to noisy protests and walkouts.
Before every session, the speaker makes a fervent appeal to all political parties for cooperation in conducting the proceedings smoothly. But this has become more of a ritual today. Only during obituary references is parliament calm.
When the live telecast of parliamentary proceedings began, every one hoped that our representatives would behave better and discharge their duties more responsibly as the people had an opportunity to see them in action. But our MPs hardly seem to bother about public opinion.
Unfortunately, most people with a vision and a broad outlook do not enter politics for obvious reasons. In fact, many do not even cast their votes. Unless we break this vicious cycle, there will be further deterioration in the political scenario.
The quality of politics and politicians has declined alarmingly. The manner in which politicians conduct themselves -- disrupting proceedings, forcing adjournments and clashing in parliament -- is deplorable. Parliament, a pillar of democracy, has been reduced to a sorry state. It is time to take urgent measures to arrest this decay. The treasury and the opposition benches must come to a minimum agreement on running parliament -- if not for improving their own public image -- at least for the sake of Bangladesh's democracy.
Sent from Canada. E-mail: [email protected]