The continuation of human civilisation in the world taught people how to organise. In order to protect the interests of the community or to the benefit of the community, new thoughts were emerged in peoples’ mind.
Leadership issue also came along with organisation. And thus the practice of politics in the society evolved without the knowledge of the mind. Over time, political ideas continued to evolve in different parts of the world in different ways. Obviously, the history of politics must be very long, ancient and diverse.
We know that a political management is a framework that places an acceptable political ideology or system to a society. An important aspect of the management of politics is the organisation. Usually, if a person wants to engage himself in political activities, he must come through an organisation. I would like to mention here that politics exists in a democratic country, as well as in military-ruled or monarchic countries. But the difference is in the political organisation’s existence, activities and objectives, planning and implementation in ruling the country.
Politics is born for the people. And politicians exist due to the existence of politics. People, politics and politicians – relationships of these three words are tied in a very simple equation. Basically these are not just three words but three vast issues. It is true that people can continue without politics and politicians, but the other two do not exist without people. That’s why people are so important in politics or to politicians. In a word, people create politics and politics creates politicians. Country’s political environment, peace, development, security and acceptance to the world depend on the existing relations among these three.
In fact, the practice of politics initially started to attain necessary power to engage oneself for the welfare of the people. But nowadays, exceptions are often observed. After getting political power, a politician uses that power to get benefits for himself forgetting the welfare of the general mass.
He does not keep it in mind that the people are the source of all strength and power. So, going to look after his own interests, he gradually becomes detached from the people. These are now regular matters in the politics of Bangladesh. It is not affecting only the politicians, but also the ideology of politics and in turn people lose confidence to their party. Though those politicians are lost from the people or politics, however, the country and the people suffer.
Many of the Bangladeshi politicians are seen running to the voters when the general elections come closer. Their comings and goings to the electoral areas continue till the day of elections. However, the winners’ visits to their constituency continue even after elections. But, they gradually reduce their visit or visit only for special purposes. The capital city Dhaka becomes their permanent address. As long as the people had the power, they went to the people, sought their votes. Now they have attained power, people will come to them and submit their prayers to get something.
People will run after them for days until they extend their hands to help those people with kindness. At the time of the elections, the person with whom a politician took tea at a village tea stall and sought his vote, now he cannot recognise that person anymore. Such examples continue till the next elections knock the door.
Though the people have given the politicians power to serve the country and the people, they are now the ‘Lord’ instead. The dream dreamt by the people before the elections has been broken into thousand pieces. The development activities in a constituency are done occasionally for his own benefits or for providing benefits to his own men. But it does not bring any good results. Rather, it creates distance from the people. In fact, if a politician regularly visits his constituency, then his attachment with the people could not only be stronger, but would ease his work including supervision of all development activities of the constituency as well as solving various local problems.
It is difficult to specify how far the elasticity of politics may be extended. We observe different degrees of its elasticity according to country, time, and people. I do not have any idea whether any theory on this has been introduced in political science. Since there is a relationship between the people and the politicians through a medium named politics, then the elasticity of politics is meant to mean the level of relationship between the people and the politicians. This is a very important issue in politics. People enjoy the benefits of politics due to the politicians. Therefore, the motives or activities of politicians to a certain extent should remain within the acceptability range of the people. As far as it crosses that range, the concerned politicians become more dissociated from the people. The relationship between the people and the politicians is proportional, but in the opposite direction. In other word, the greater the distance between the two, the attachment of the politicians with the people would decrease proportionately. As a result, the politics will be weak and the country’s democratic structure can stumble.
It is an unimaginable matter in the present world to do politics putting the people aside or ignoring them. Anyone who did this has been thrown into the dustbin of history. Sometimes, the military rulers try to run the country by grabbing state power. But people hate that regime, come down on the streets to protest, and mass uprising takes place. Finally, these military rulers flee the country, otherwise they are found in the prison. There are many such examples in the history. The consequences of ignoring the people are always dreadful. Regardless of the power a politician posses, he cannot remain in the state power separating himself from the people. One day he must face its extreme consequences, there is no salvation. In fact, people have the power to empower politicians. And this power is given to them to serve the people only. Violation of this would damage the credibility of the politicians.
So the people who are directly involved in politics or who have taken politics as a profession, if they are really willing to engage themselves for the welfare of the country and the people, then there is no alternative to strengthening their public relations. While working in Malaysia for nearly five and a half years, I have never seen any country celebrating National or Independence Day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Because, to be the chief guest of the reception ceremony, no Minister or Deputy Minister is available in Kuala Lumpur from Friday afternoon till Sunday. Usually Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliament Members stay in their constituencies during the weekend. They only stay in the capital during the weekend if there is any urgent need. Due of this, the people of their constituencies do not usually come to Kuala Lumpur and make any crowd at their residences. Thus their elected representatives come to know their problems sitting in the constituencies. As a result of this weekly visit, the people get the politicians beside them and can share their sorrow and happiness. Besides, the politicians also get the chance to directly monitor and supervise all development works in the area. The accountability process becomes more transparent. This involvement of the people with politicians does not only strengthen grass root politics, it has a very positive impact on the overall politics as well as development of the country.
If this arrangement of Malaysia seems to be a pragmatic and beneficial initiative, then cannot we do anything like this in our country? The weekly holidays in Bangladesh are Friday and Saturday. Except the parliament session, our Ministers and Members of the Parliament can stay in their constituencies at least on these two days. Then, they will be able to know all the problems of the people sitting in their respective constituency.
People will not come to Dhaka to meet the Ministers or MPs at their residences and offices. Sometimes, these people take with them some middlemen to Dhaka at their cost for lobbying. This waste of money will also stop. Due to their stay in the constituency, they will get the opportunity to properly prepare and supervise the implementation of all development activities of the area. As a result, it will be possible to accomplish those activities in a dynamic and timely manner.
Due to their visits every week, accountability of the officials working in various offices in the constituency could be monitored. Presently the employees who are very often remained absent from their workplace will not dare to continue this practice due to the presence of the MPs in their constituency. Their presence will have a huge impact on reducing corruption in the area and establishing the rule of law. As they will be able to understand the people, the people will be able to understand them as well. The people will get their representatives beside them in their good and bad times. Thus a bridge of mutual understanding will be built between the two. People’s relations with politicians will strengthen mutual trust, dependence and bonds of trust and love. A politician, who could be more mass-based, will be able to do more developmental activities in his constituency. He will easily win if he competes in the following elections.
I do not know whether any political party will think about this matter or not. If any politician values it, it might be good for him. What is the harm to verify it, at least once?
The writer is former Ambassador and