Vol. 5 Num 972 Fri. February 23, 2007  
Front Page

Yunus floats party styled Nagorik Shakti
Says his politics will be to materialise ideals of Liberation War; asks people to spontaneously form committees

Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus yesterday formally floated his political party styled Nagorik Shakti or citizen power, giving shape to his latest vision of an alternative stream of politics in Bangladesh at a crisis time.

He made the declaration through another open letter to the people of the country from Zia International Airport (ZIA) on his way to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the evening.

"After getting your immense response, I have decided to join in your effort to create new politics. I will join the politics and form a political party," he said.

Prof Yunus had earlier served an open letter for the countrymen, also from the ZIA, to elicit their opinion as to whether he should enter the domain of politics.

In his declaration about floating party, he said, "We want to advance the country with the slogan 'Advance Bangladesh'. Our politics will be the politics of materialising the ideals of the Liberation War."

But he didn't mention anything clearly about the aims and objectives of his political party. "I will say about those later on," he said, adding: "Those will be fixed after the formation of the party."

He said the politics of this party will be to unite the people to achieve goals in the future, "not to create division among the people."

Prof Yunus mentioned that the workers in the villages would be the main source of his political party's main force.

"Those who violate laws must not be in the leadership of this party," he said about his plan for starting off with a clean slate.

He also thanked people who advised him not to venture into the arena of politics.

The local committees will nominate the candidates for the elections, including the national elections. They will do that after examining whether a candidate is honest and eligible.

He urged the people to form 'primary preparation team' with 20 people each and set up the office for the political party and communications center.

Yunus put emphasis on the womenfolk participating in the formation of preparation teams, as they constitute half the total population.

"This is time the women came forward bypassing all odds, fears and shyness," said the Grameen Bank founder whose creditors are mostly poor women.

He said the first work of this team will be to find honest and eligible persons for the next general elections.

For the youths, Yunus said, "You are the biggest power of this country, you will construct this country's prestigious future. "You have to come forward with enthusiasm and innovative ideas."

He told reporters it is his assumption that those who want to create a new political arena should join his new-generation party. "I believe the people are looking for a new way to move away from the destructive activities of the past."

He noted that people are not getting the scope for exploiting the full potential held by Bangladesh for them to build a prosperous life.

About his party's vision, he said the implementation of that vision is not tough.

The Nobel laureate noted that he would reduce his involvement with the Grameen Bank and no executives or members of the bank would get involved with his new political party.

"Bank is purely a separate kind of business while politics is other kind," he said.

Prof Yunus evidently holds a different view from that of the old parties about the timeframe for the stalled polls, as he said there should not be any hurry in holding election. Rather, he said, election should be held after completion of the due works.

He urged the people to work with his new party, saying that if the people want to see an honest representative in parliament, they should support his "Shakti".

He, however, ducked some questions asked by reporters as to which form of government he wants-presidential or parliamentary system, and whether he will allow anyone who wants to join his party from the two major political parties.

Related Story

Yunus' second letter
Dear Citizen,
I am writing to you again. First, let me express my salam to you. I could never imagine that I would get such massive response from the letter I wrote to you on February 11, 2007.

Muhammad Yunus