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08 Feb 2018   01:42:05 AM   Thursday BdST A- A A+ Print this E-mail this

Political catharsis, or?

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 Political catharsis, or?
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A talk show on Feb 7th night concluded with an assertion by ruling Awami League that `nothing will happen tomorrow (Feb 8th)` surrounding the verdict in the graft case against ex-premier and BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia. He meant to dispel escalating tensions lest there should be outbreaks of violence if she were imprisoned. It`s a case against a top political leader, so if `nothing` happens in the one part of the parallelogram that negates anything in the other part that could fan the fire. Then? A catharsis in the political harakiri lies in store, giving a crucial national election a chance? 

In the meantime, public sensibilty has been stoked up onto a surrealistic height through large-scale arrest of BNP leaders and activists and their allies in Jamaat-e-Islami as well as beefing up security across the country by deploying paramilitary BGB troops in the run-up the verdict in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.

In a saving grace, however, both sides in the poltical divide are conspicuous by ambivalent utterances that boil down to appeal for calm in any event stemming from the Baksibazar special court. On occasion, leaders of the two alternate ruling party of Bangladesh blew hot and cold at the same breath--true to their political rhetoric. But the bottom line of their observations at their respective press conferences on the eve of the case judgement bears, again, a call for peace and order.

Especially, Begum Zia--in an implicit apologetic and emotion-charged, yet firm, address to the countrymen through the news conference urged all to carry on `peaceful and disciplined movement for democracy and free and fair election` ahead.

It`s worthwhile to make a mention of some antecedents on a long trek towards the next polls. In one instance comes prime minister Sheikh Hasina`s oft-quoted remark at her party council `I don`t want to see anymore election that can be called to question`.

Then again, she budged an inch farther by defining `election-time government` as an interim administration following persistent insistence of her political archrival on nutral  government to conduct the polls. On her part also, she moved away from calling it `caretaker government` abolished through constitutional amendment by the AL government.

Now come to political symbolism. Symbolism in literature, especially in post-modernism English literature, is a most important device in both rhetoric and prosody. Vast, powerful meanings are conveyed through such figures. Do the back-to-back Sylhet trips of the two leaders carry any meaning or message in politico-electoral milieu?

 Many in TV talk and in different circles wondered what prompted the PM to kickstart so early her party`s professed election campaign by offering prayers at shrines of two Muslim saints in an ambience of peace and amity?

And questions also cropped up as to whether it was a mere coincidence when the ex-PM, Khaleda Zia, undertook a Sylhet trip sans any tour plan and only offered prayers at the same shrines.

Some went to the extent of asking whether it could have any symbolic implications--say, for one inference, the two boarded the same train--the long-haul train to the next polls, tentatively set for December.

After and above all, analysts and politicians of all hues agree, `inclusive` and unquestionable election is beyond imagination if BNP boycotts it in the reality of Bangladesh polity. The PM`s message to her party is but a reflection of that hard fact, because gales of questions cloud the status of the Jan 5th, 2014 polls solely for the reason that BNP did stay away, and some more minor parties followed suit. An unprecedented turmoil over that election tormented the nation.

To crown it all, a latest value judgment by the new Chief Election Commissioner, Mr Nurul Huda, can be cited here: `Inclusive election without participation of BNP is not possible.`

If so, an English idium fits in here exquisitely: Lightning never strikes in the same place twice.

Analysts, talk-show talkers all appear to be of a unanimous view that `January 5th, 2014` may not occur twice, either, that the nation cannot afford to see history repeat itself.

One quipped, during idle talk at the National Press Club just a day before the red-letter day, that is, Feb 8th, was it possible and plausible to bill it `a legal process of exoneration...?` 

The process concludes at the apex court through the High Court.                

 

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