<%-- Page Title--%> Chintito <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 122 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

September 12, 2003

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The voice of a people

French General and Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) opined: 'Public opinion is the thermometer a monarch should constantly consult'.

Well, we have no monarchs but we have the public and they have an opinion. Not that they get much of a chance to vent them, especially if they belong to the vast majority of the poor and the illiterate and the poor literates who are not involved with politics. That's ninety-eight percent of the population.

Dhaka's popular Bangla daily, Prothom Alo runs a daily poll among its Internet readers, more so perhaps to get a quick digital feedback that is easy to compute. Considering the circulation of local newspapers, their number is quite impressive with daily readership often touching 75,000.

Agreed that those Internet users do not represent all social classes; the poor not at all. Besides, all the readers never cast their votes. But even British and American opinion polls are often based on a sample size of a mere thousand respondents. Again it is only one newspaper, which perhaps also means one genre of people. Nevertheless, the polls can, even by a cynic's standard, be deemed as a conscience of a nation, okay part nation.
The last days of August 2003 have been taken only for convenience's sake. Polls of any eight days speak volumes about our politics, politicians and governance.
Most interestingly, both the BNP-JI-BJP-IOJ alliance and the opposition AL take flak from the Prothom Alo polls. There lies its credibility. Politicians on both sides must heed to the warnings, even if it be a murmur from one group of people. Remember, every vote counts!


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