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    Volume 10 |Issue 49 | December 30, 2011 |


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Talking can't be all that bad


Any idea working for the people, the nation and the state will appear to be the success of a political party or occasionally that of a politician within a political party, and so the strategy of the rivals is to oppose it blindly and try to snip it in the bud. That is basically how we have traversed the rocky road on this alluvial soil for the past 40 years.

Such is our love for our helpless and hapless but beloved country that is caught between suitors who would rather see the object of love destroyed than to let the other party win her over. Some term that true love, others suicidal.

Our people are also made of the same silty earth, and so every time (at least till now) they forgive and forget, and usually vote anew for the party hitherto ousted. And so there are those who invest time, labour, and money in the opposition with the view to serve their own selves in the imminent future. That is basically how we have formed and deformed our local and national politics for the past four decades. A break in that cycle of events would also perhaps see our political garbage cleaned to a great extent.

Such is our sad frame of mind; and in this context the difference is unclear between the learned and the illiterate, between the affluent and the impoverished.

Let us take for instance, the ongoing presidential dialogue with the political parties for the touchy task of forming the Election Commission. According to the media, Article 118 of the Republic's constitution empowers the president to appoint the Chief Election Commissioner and other election commissioners, BUT Article 48 states that the President shall act in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister.

The hue and cry has begun, that this discussion is useless. Pessimism has taken over, that the discourse will bear no fruit. Legal issues have been raised, that the office of the president is being dragged into a possible controversy. Some of course have hailed the initiative as novel and never done before in the history of this country. In a country where 'monologue' rules the very term 'dialogue' is positive. Or maybe we are not used to the culture of sitting across a table and conversing to solve our problems.

In the articles mentioned, '... in accordance with...' should be read as binding 'consensus as to the right course of action' or 'adherence to correct process'. And 'advice' should be read as 'recommendation about action'; here the prime minister's opinion about what the president should do.

So, where and how do we see that the president's office has erred grievously? Unless of course his staff does not do their homework and we find the president's office awkwardly placed in the face of our judgemental politics.

Let us assume another likely course of action, that which has been followed this far. The prime minister advises that omuk and omuk should be appointed to the Election Commission, and the president appoints them accordingly. The possible criticism then would be that the prime minister has acted on her own and in a partisan manner and has not discussed with anyone other party and has appointed her stooge and that she want to win the next elections unfairly and so the opposition is rejecting this commission. More strikes, more torching, more blasts, more deaths. But why should anyone care.

So why is the prime minister not having the dialogue instead of the president? Well, she has not talked to me about this yet, but I guess the present government's thinking is that the office of the president is neutral. Also, the opposition may feel more at ease with the president, seeing that they have boycotted the parliament for long.

In a statement the opposition fears that the presidential initiative will make his office controversial, which in itself is evidence that the opposition reveres the office in high esteem, and thereby the possibility that they may, just may, go to him and lay down their proposals for the upcoming Election Commission.

In all worldly conflicts we have seen that the first effort is to start a dialogue. Often that is a mighty difficult and long-drawn undertaking. And that is exactly what President Md Zillur Rahman has done, and on his own, without any demand from any quarter.

Let us appreciate his enterprise. If not anything, some parties will attend and maybe even give concrete names for the president to consider and discuss with her when she comes to 'advise' him on the formation of the commission. Who knows? She might listen. Who knows? She may then propose according to the dialogues held, as all will hopefully come to know who proposed who. Is not that shot worth taking to give this country a chance to see better days than those of the last changeover?


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