Political consensus over the upcoming 12th parliamentary elections seems to be an uphill task, but the Election Commission cannot evade its responsibility in bringing all parties to the table. Of the many disagreements between the ruling and opposition parties, holding vote in EVM was one the prominent issues. But the EVM issue no longer exists as the EC has decided to hold votes through ballots in all 300 constituencies. Capitalising on this breakthrough, the EC should make an all out effort to bring some sort of consensus among political parties over the remaining issues of disagreement, because lack of consensus will surely lead to widespread chaos.
Ensuring the participation of all political parties is a dire challenge because of the lingering political deadlock over election-time government. Prior to the election, political parties should reach a consensus about what will be the nature of the poll-time government. The EC must play the key role here in bringing the major political parties to the table and mediating the dispute.
So, in the run up to the elections, sincere and effective steps are needed to bring the government and opposition alliance to the negotiating table. All parties have a stake in a peaceful and stable Bangladesh. Given the complex and wide range of issues on which the parties differ, it may not be expected that they would reach a consensus in one or two sittings. But as long as the parties keep the door of dialogue open, discuss with an open mind and give priority to national interest, there will be a chance for holding a peaceful and participatory election. So, let us not squander the opportunity of holding dialogues. We hope good sense will prevail.