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Self-realisation Indicates a Positive Culture in Politics

  • Pranab Kumar Panday
  • 23rd November, 2022 09:45:46 PM
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Admitting one's mistakes or realising one's actions is not very common in the political environment of Bangladesh, although this issue bears immense importance in politics. In reality, most of the political parties in Bangladesh do not evaluate their activities. Therefore, political leaders who can do this over time survive well in politics. The twelfth national parliament election, scheduled for 2024, has begun to spin a strong web in Bangladeshi politics. The ruling Awami League (AL), BNP, and other opposition parties have undertaken various programs to prepare themselves for this parliamentary election. The BNP has been carrying out various programs for several months, demanding elections under the caretaker government and the resignation of the government. As a counterweight to the programs of the opposition party, the ruling AL is also carrying out various programs throughout the country. In fact, the heat of the election has started to be felt in the country's politics a year before the elections.

Two key leaders of the AL have recently made public statements, and their words have piqued my interest. At one stage of their speeches, both leaders admitted that they might have committed some mistakes in governing the country. To help them figure out where things went wrong, however, they asked for input from the general public, civil society, and political parties. A country's democratic system improves when both the ruling party and the opposition party constructively criticise each other's actions. As things stand, I positively consider the AL's top brass's admission of mistakes in this matter. We must remember that human beings make mistakes; therefore, there is no wrongdoing or sin in admitting one's mistakes. But not all political party leaders have the mentality to admit their mistakes.

No political party leader can confidently claim they will not make any mistakes in running the party and the state. Managing a state is more complicated than managing a party. The current ruling party- AL, has been in state power for almost 14 years. During this long tenure in power, extensive developmental activities have been carried out in the country. However, it is also true that the government could not achieve the desired goals in some areas. Therefore, it's unrealistic to think of any one political party ruling a state without mistakes.

Bangladesh's political landscape is more adverse to the government, making it more challenging to administer the state. In this environment, infiltrators are more common than party loyalists. Infiltrators from opposing parties have a stranglehold on various tiers of the ruling party at all times. These party leaders and activists put personal gain ahead of the party's goals and engage in a wide range of illegal activities to achieve their goals. At the end of the day, the responsibility for all these misdeeds falls on the party and the government because there is no room to deny the responsibility. From the top of the party to the leaders at the local level, a group of party leaders has helped these people infiltrate and do misdeeds.

A weak point of democratic governance in Bangladesh is the consolidation of party and government while in power, which is never desirable. We all know that in elections, a political party presents its election manifesto before the public. People trust them only after seeing their manifestos or declarations. When a political party wins an election and comes to power, the main goal of that government is to run the state in light of the promises made by the party in its election manifesto or declaration before the people. Therefore,  the government and political parties must work separately and keep their identities.

If this can be done, the government can run the country properly, and the political party will be much stronger organisationally. But in Bangladesh's political reality, it is impossible to ensure a clear distinction between the party and the government because the party's top leaders occupy important positions in the government. They fail to maintain their individuality in fulfilling this collective responsibility. If we look at the advanced democratic state systems, we will see that the ruling party and the government are separate entities. A group of leaders heads the party, and another controls the government. Both groups try to coordinate between themselves and run the state in light of the parties' election manifestos. This way, the party gets organised, and the country's development is achieved.

If the party and the government aren't kept strictly apart, the government can erode the party's structure, ultimately hurting the electoral prospects in elections. Given this situation, the political parties always become subservient to the government.  Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has led Bangladesh to international acclaim for its progress during the past decade. Due to the domination of infiltrators and a class of opportunists, the party loyalists feel deprived. However, as the elections come closer, the party's top leaders have been found praising the efforts of the party loyalists. The party stands to gain if these words are put into action. The self-realisation of the AL leaders is favourable for the party's future politics. But the opposition doesn't seem to admit that they did anything wrong when they were in power, which is something we should never want from a political party.

Maintaining political stability is crucial for a country's progress. Bangladesh has made tremendous development due to the stability of its government over the past 14 years. If power is constantly shifting in a country like Bangladesh's democracy, where the ruling party and the opposition party can't seem to agree on anything, the development will be impeded. If the current government is to continue Bangladesh's development of the past decade, it must be reelected in the upcoming election. This being the case, AL leaders and supporters need to take stock of past failures and restructure the party accordingly.

However, the self-realisation of political party leaders should be implemented in practice. If they admit their mistakes and take action, that decision will bring positive results. Already, a kind of indifference is observed among the party loyalists at different levels of the AL across the country. They behaved this way because, in many cases, the party loyalists were not valued. Thus, if all these leaders and workers are not attached to the party and behave indifferently, it may bring danger to the party in the next election. Therefore, just as these party loyalists have to be rewarded from the central level, in the same way, the leaders and activists have to come out of resentment and fulfill their responsibilities towards the party. If both sides do these things positively, the party will be stronger organisationally and able to face the threat of opposition to overthrowing the government. The fellow citizens expect that the AL will fight against the movement of opposition parties unitedly and win the next elections through participatory elections and maintain the continuity of development in the country.

(The writer is a Professor, Department of Public Administration, University of Rajshahi)

Source: Sun Editorial