Vol. 5 Num 1141 Tue. August 14, 2007  

Relief work with a bang!
Special privilege for the new political party?
The authorities' reservations about using banners by political parties while conducting relief operations could be construed as an attempt to keep an essentially humanitarian job above or away from politics. Nothing can be more important at the moment than helping the flood victims. It is well taken, and so is the stand that party politics should not blur our vision of a collective effort to overcome the effects of the onslaught of floods.

So far so good. One would expect though that the rules will apply equally for all and also that undue ostentation will be avoided in all relief work. Viewed from that angle, the motor cycle rally organised by the newly formed political party, PDP, as its leaders went to Manikganj to distribute relief materials looked a bit too grandiose. The objection to this kind of an almost festive show of helping people in distress is twofold. First, it assumed the character of a political rally when the ban on politics is still on. The ban, we have to conclude, cannot be slackened in case of a particular party, unless the government chooses to be insensitive to views of other less fortunate parties. The PDP was apparently making its debut in politics of our kind, but a very legitimate question as to why it has done so, or has been allowed to do so, might arise. Secondly, in carrying out relief operations all kinds of flamboyance should be scrupulously avoided.

Obviously, the PDP has not set the greatest of examples by carrying out the relief work the way it did in Manikganj. As for the government, it has to ensure a level playing field for all even when it comes to helping humanity in distress.