Electoral politics, peaceful solutions and neutral civil society
A very disappointing feature of Bangladesh's politics, especially the upcoming national elections, which has been tense and conflict-friendly for several months, is that representatives of civil society are unable to work for peace and reconciliation beyond political approval or party identification. Although in theory, a peaceful solution requires civil society to adopt a neutral perspective, in practice it is elusive. Almost everyone is speaking with specific goals, objectives and vision in mind. Although party politics prevails in this, 'overall public interest' is not given due importance. As a result, along with the fear of conflict, the polarization of civil society, civil society, elites and intellectuals is increasing, which in turn is acting as a catalyst for increasing division, distance and tension between the people.
Due to the existing situation, there is nothing left as a 'buffer zone' or 'neutral zone' in Bangladesh at present. Just hearing the names of individuals, speakers, groups and newspapers, we can close our eyes and say 'which side are they on'? Unbiased statements, holistic consideration, and genuine public interest behavior cannot be expected from biased parties. So no one is able to show the light of hope in the political uncertainty of Bangladesh, this is the harsh reality.
As various political parties have mobilized civil society and intellectuals on their behalf, the international community and development partners are doing the same. As a result, the civil society organizations of Bangladesh are not able to rise above their narrow party identity and group interests and show the way out to the people who are in trouble due to the fear of conflict. Also missing is someone who can be proactive in providing peaceful solutions, extend a hand of compassion to all and help promote peace and stability.
It is a matter of particular misfortune that in reality there is no such acceptable person. Rather, these civil society organizations are helping to spread political violence and poison of hatred. It is accompanied by political hypocrisy and shameless brokering. Therefore, there is no way of release ahead for now. As a result, no one knows where the latent conflict ends.
History shows that only neutral leadership and dialogue between civil society and political representatives can thaw relations. However, in the current reality, there is no trace of mutual trust between the leadership. That's why an alternative is needed. A neutral civil society could be the right alternative. Positive change was possible through their initiative. There was a possibility of peace and reconciliation. But that hope is gradually fading.
Meanwhile, the schedule of national elections in November and voting in January, it is known about the 12th national parliament elections. At the same time, there is a deadlock around the elections. As there is no agreement and consensus among the parties, the voice of civil society is also not raised. A fragmented civil society is unable to organize the people to give them a voice and to smooth the path to democracy through constitutional continuity.
If there is no true democracy in a promising country like Bangladesh, if the parliament is not representative of the majority of people - then public interest and development cannot be ensured. That is why fair election process and democratic process should continue in the country by resolving all disputes. People should be allowed to choose their leadership. Bangladesh cannot be pushed into a long deadlock under any circumstances to realize not only the constitution, but also the nation's dream. The entire country and nation cannot be immersed in the mire of small party political differences.
Those who want to be in the leadership for people-friendly-inclusive development of a democratic and just society must first look at the interests of the country and listen to the people. At the same time, we must be wary of the danger of democratic failure and lack of representative government, and the path to building a just society must also be kept smooth.
If these tasks are neglected, the political crisis will intensify as well as development will be interrupted, poverty will increase, people's economic and social life will fall into a more fragile state. It will also be impossible to protect the poor people. The burden of debt will increase, from which new political and social crises will also be created. Needless to say, the market and inflation cannot be controlled long before the elections. Corruption has increased in society manifold and also in various sectors. These are special omens.
Therefore, social stability and balanced development require a continuous transition to democracy. And that will be possible by ensuring consensus, accountability and transparency in the election system. The conflicting electoral politics of the country must therefore come to a compromise on the way to a peaceful solution. And neutral civil society must stand tall to stop political bickering and create favorable conditions for democracy and elections.