At the end of 2022, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) started a street movement under the leadership of BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on the demand of the caretaker government. Awami League, the traditional and ancient party that led all the political movements including the independence war of the country and forced the Khaleda Zia-led government to resign by protesting against the BNP in 1996 on the same demand. The agitation of 1995-96 forced the Begum Zia-led controversial Sixth National Assembly to include the caretaker government system in the constitution. No opposition party, including Awami League, participated in this parliamentary election, the only exception being the Freedom Party, the party that killed Bangabandhu and his family. The election was much debated as ’15 February Election’, which lasted for 11 days. The leader of the opposition in this parliament was the self-confessed murderer of Bangabandhu and later the highest sentenced accused in the Bangabandhu murder case Colonel Farooq (Retd.).
The Seventh National Assembly was held in June of that year under the caretaker government provisions passed by the Sixth National Assembly; Awami League won. For the first time in the country’s history, the Awami League government handed over the responsibility of running the government to the constitutional rules after completing its five-year term. The 8th National Parliament election was held under the leadership of retired Chief Justice Latifur Rahman by forming a caretaker government. Justice Latifur Rahman’s neutrality was questioned before the election. On the day of election, media showed the bias of caretaker government in favor of Jamaat-BNP alliance in various constituencies. Impartial caretaker government loses morality in biased elections; Jamaat-BNP alliance won.
Soon after the formation of the government in 2001, on the one hand, under the leadership of Prime Minister Khaleda Zia’s son Tariq Rahman, the Hawa Bhaban of corruption was created. Five times in a row they became the world champion in corruption. On August 21, 2004, under the direct leadership of Tariq Rahman and under the patronage of Begum Zia, a hellish grenade attack was carried out on the Awami League rally. During that attack, Awami League president Sheikh Hasina was shot directly with intent to kill. His bodyguard was shot dead. Bangabandhu’s life was saved by creating a human shield. 24 people, including central leaders, were killed in this grenade attack, which was aimed at depriving Awami League of leadership and usurping state power for a long time.
On the other hand, the Jamaat-BNP alliance appointed retired Justice MA Aziz as Chief Election Commissioner to control the upcoming national elections within the framework of the caretaker government. The retirement age of judges was extended by two years to ensure the appointment of former BNP leader Justice KM Hasan as the head of the caretaker government. Jamaat-BNP alliance elected president Yazuddin Ahmed was unable to appoint KM Hasan as the head of the caretaker government in the face of strong mass protests.
Despite all this, the Jamaat-BNP alliance did not last. Fakhruddin Ahmed, who was supported by the army in the face of strong mass protests, assumed the responsibility of caretaker government and ran the government unconstitutionally for two years. By seizing power, Fakhruddin government started implementing the ‘minus two formula’ to depoliticize Bangladesh. Nobel laureate tried to open a political party when politics was banned. Muhammad Yunus. Once again the honor of the so-called non-partisan, neutral caretaker government has been lost. No unconstitutional process was employed. On December 29, 2008, the Moinuddin-Fakhruddin government was forced to hold the ninth national election. Awami League formed the government with a landslide victory in that election. In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that the caretaker government was illegal as it was not representative of the people. In continuation of that judgment, following the constitutional process, the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution abolished the much-abused and controversial system of caretaker government, which is inconsistent with democracy.
The controversial second national parliament election held during the illegal government of President Ziaur Rahman, declared illegal by the Supreme Court, organized the first national election after the assassination of Bangabandhu. Since then, every election in the country has been more or less controversial. Elections held under so-called non-partisan caretaker governments are also controversial in every subtle or gross way. Caretaker government has been tried time and again in this country, nothing good has come out of it.
In order to permanently stop the sneaky way of repeatedly playing with the politics of Bangladesh, like all other advanced democratic countries, Bangladesh should have a government elected by the people for all time. Like real democratic countries, there can be no opportunity for any other force to interfere in the management of Bangladesh. It is easy to ask, but difficult to implement. The group of murderers of November 3, August 15 and 21, BNP, created by the illegal president Ziaur Rahman, who has been called a terrorist several times in the Canadian court, has come down desperately along with the war criminal group Jamaat to prevent this difficult task. Despite all this, they are vocal in demanding national elections under the management of the caretaker government.
The election campaign under the caretaker government of the ongoing Jamaat-BNP coalition starting from the latter part of 2022 is again trying to divert the country from its own course by displacing real democratic forces. Bangladesh will continue with the spirit of the liberation war gained in exchange of the blood of 3 million martyrs. There is no question of giving concession to Jamaat-BNP-Susil evil forces in this question. People are not discounting that. The general public is not interested in the movement that has been going on for more than a year. In the public gathering of the agitators, no one can be seen except for their power-hungry, thug-minded leaders and activists. Mirza Fakhrul’s daily unrealistic statements sound ridiculous. Where is the country going and what is he saying! On October 28, calling for a mass rally, they attacked and torched the Chief Justice’s residence, Justice Complex, Police Hospital, Audit Building, attacked more than 30 journalists and brutally beat and hacked to death the police. Jamaat-BNP has ended its demand for elections under the caretaker government. In order to stop repeated conspiracies about the election, like all the democratic countries of the world, Bangladesh should organize the national election under the management of the elected government. Efforts to make democracy permanent must continue. As long as Jamaat-BNP evil forces remain active, this system will not be easily sustainable. All the democratic forces should stand against the evil forces and take care of the real democratic election system, give it time and be patient. Only then will the real democratic electoral system gradually become stronger.
Author: Chartered Accountant and Political and Economic Analyst