Discussion only can overcome crisis

EditorialProthom Alo illustration

BNP mass rally in Dhaka wrapped up peacefully at last. This came as a relief not only to the Dhaka-dwellers but also to the people across the country. Even the government can claim credit for this let alone the party that organised the rally. Earlier, there were no violence in any of the nine BNP rallies outside of Dhaka, despite there being provocations from the ruling party at some of the places.

At the same time we also believe that if the government and the opposition had shown some foresight, the conflict and clash that occurred centering the venue of the rally could have been averted. BNP had written to DMP way beforehand seeking a venue for the rally. Both sides even met for discussions on several occasions. Yet the clash took place as an uncalled for incident.

There seemed to be a sort of tension going on between the government and the opposition regarding BNP’s rally in Dhaka. And this reflected in their leaders’ speeches. The tension escalated even more by rash comments from some. The psychological fight that had been going on for the past few weeks between the two parties centering the rally took a violent turn with the clash in front of the BNP office on 7 December.

Without going into the debate of which party is to be blamed more for this, it can be said that people of the country expect soberer and more tolerant behavior from both the government and the opposition. That clash claimed the life of a party worker and that’s an irreparable loss. It mustn’t be forgotten that the state and politics are only there for the welfare of people.

Seven MPs of BNP have announced their resignation from the parliament at the rally. No matter how symbolic their resignation may be, there’s a political significance to it. Till now BNP had been criticising different policies and activities of the government from inside of the parliament. Although leaders of the ruling party used to claim that the way of criticism is wide open both inside and outside of the parliament, that scope is gone for now.

Even before this time, there are many prior examples of parliamentarians resigning from the national parliament in Bangladesh. Awami League general secretary and the road transport minister Obaidul Quader has said that the parliament won’t become defunct with seven BNP members resigning. In fact, the parliament can still function even after the resignation of many more MPs than this.

The fifth national parliament remained standing for two more years even after 147 of its members resigned under the leadership of Awami League.

Those in power have to acknowledge that the issue, created over the election, is political and it has to be solved in a political way. The ruling party also knows it too well why the opposition fears going into election under the rule of a party government. They too have been in the opposition on countless occasions. As BNP failed to realise this in mid-nineties and in 2006, there came no peaceful solution to the problem.

A peaceful solution is desired today in the interest of the country and its people. If the dispute over the venue of the rally was eventually settled through discussion, why the election or other issues won’t be solved this way? This requires only the good intent and sincerity of all parties concerned. However, there’s no need to explain it that the ruling party has a more responsible role to play, in this case. The government can give a proof of its goodwill by immediately releasing the leaders and activists of the opposition who were arrested under the situation, created before the rally.