Victory worse than defeat
THE Economist predicted, 'The ruling party will win', but 'The country will lose.' The Economist view is extreme. Good people of Bangladesh don't draw such an extreme conclusion about the January 5 election outcome. With 153 candidates elected uncontested and major parties boycotting this election, this should have been the fairest of all elections and also free from vote-rigging and violence. On the contrary, this election has been tarnished with all negatives with only one plus point that this has saved the constitution. Former election commissioner M. Sakhawat Hussain said, 'the biggest loser is democracy. The other loser, perhaps a bigger one, is the Bangladesh Election Commission.'
Ahmed Sofa once said, 'When Awami League wins, Sheikh Hasina with a handful of people wins, and when Awami League loses, the whole Bangladesh loses.' There are two opposite conditions in this remark: when AL wins and when it loses. There are two consequences resulting from those conditions. This time AL has won with a resounding victory, legally. And Sheikh Hasina with a handful of people has won with it. But what about the rest of the people in the country? Yet the rest of the people must be contented that Hasina has done all this 'in the interest of the country, its democracy and the Constitution'. Farce also should have a limit.
Now the AL led by Sheikh Hasina has scored equal points with JP and BNP. Khaleda is three times prime minister of Bangladesh. So is Hasina. AL leaders have gone no less than JP and BNP leaders in accumulating and multiplying their wealth through means unreachable to non-JP, non-BNP and non-AL people. Ershad held a farcical election in 1988, Khaleda held a more farcical one in 1996 and Hasina a comparatively more farced one. No superlative degree of comparison will fit here because none can predict to what a degree this type of election farce can develop in future in our politics.
A parliamentary election is a sort of celebration, a festivity, to the poor but democracy-loving people of Bangladesh. But this pyrrhic victory has left such a bitter taste of defeat in the mouth that even the victors are now ashamed of celebrating their victory. If there are still people who boast of this victory, they must be jokers, not politicians.
The writer writes on theatre, education and socio-political issues.