At present there is a smokescreen about the fact that whether there is any opposition party in Bangladesh at this moment. A bigger question is which political front is playing the role of opposition party now. As a matter of fact at present there are three types of opposition parties in Bangladesh-original, adulterated or fake and domestic.
In the present Cabinet, all are Awami League members except three technocrat ministers. So, Awami League is the ruling party beyond questions but Awami League leads the Grand Alliance which consists of 14 parties. All these parties contested in the recent election with boat symbol. So, it is a government of 14 parties.
Jatiya Party led by HM Ershad and Jukta Front led by B. Chowdhury also contested in the latest election as allies of Awami League. So, these two parties also belong to the ruling party at this moment. The Cabinet is the highest institution led by the Prime Minister which carries out all duties of the state.
Now questions have come up which party is opposition party in the present parliament. Awami League intends to put the 14 parties in the place of opposition in the parliament. Jatiya Party has in the meantime taken the seats of opposition party. Awami League has also directed Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), Workers Party and other partners of the Grand Alliance to play the part of opposition parties.
Most of the allies of the Grand Alliance were eager to have a few ministries but in reality the ruling party Awami League wants them to get transformed into opposition parties. These parties in the form of opposition parties look like domestic opposition. This is nothing but a joke.
HM Ershad is now a gazetted opposition leader while JSD and Workers Party also carry the badge of opposition parties under directives from ruling party Awami League. However, according to media and countrymen, the main opposition party is Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). BNP is the only party which can challenge Awami League's power. When Awami League is in power, BNP is considered to be the opposition party and when BNP is in power Awami League is viewed as the opposition front. This is the ground reality.
Still questions remain which party can be called an original opposition party under the present circumstances. Opposition parties are the direct opponents to the ruling party. At the same time this is also true that both Awami League and BNP oppose the socialist political ideologies. From this point of view these two parties are likeminded.
There are at present three basic conflicts in Bangladesh. One is the conflict between the nation's interest and imperialism. The second conflict exists between the plundering forces and the working class people. The third conflict prevails between religious extremism, communalism and secular platforms. Imperialism, financial rampage and religious bigotry are three great enemies to the nation right now.
1% of the country's people are now filthy rich. The remaining 99% are workers and farmers. The rich 1% people have been holding the top state power for decades after decades while the 99% ordinary masses are facing deprivations all the time. This is how a divide between the rulers and the general citizens is widely found in Bangladesh.
Politics of power has become a business now to both Awami League and BNP. BNP has all along aided the religious extremists and BNP is still doing the same thing. Awami League has also pampered communal organizations in recent times for gaining political momentum.
It has now become indispensable for the country's people to bring about the end of the current misgovernance, repressions and fascism. For this reason it is the most vital thing to formulate a real opposition party which would be democratic, truthful and humanitarian. This role cannot be played by domestic opposition parties like Jatiya Party or fake opposition parties like BNP-Jamaat.
The leftist democratic alliance of Bangladesh is the original opposition force in the country now. The socialist parties are opponents to the government's policies and power. Fake and domestic opposition parties cannot eradicate socio-economic injustice from the country. That's why it is important to transform the socialist parties into a strong opposition in the country for the betterment of the country's people. Otherwise there will be no change with the fate of the masses.
We will have to run the country in such a way which works looking after the interest of the 99% people of the country, not cuddling just 1% wealthy fellows. A wave of struggle under the leadership of the leftist parties will have to be launched. If it does not happen then plundering, mismanagement, repression and communalism will prevail. The political tussle for grabbing power by political parties like Awami League and BNP is a dangerous game. It must be stopped.
The writer is President, Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB)
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