One thing certain about politics in Bangladesh is that it has an evolving order in the midst of an emerging chaos. If closely observed, it is right now abiding by Newton's first law of motion. The object at rest stays at rest, while the object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction. One of the assumptions of the law of inertia is that it doesn't change unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
So the ruling party – Bangladesh Awami League – stays in power, while the opposition stays opposed. It is almost certain now that the period between now and next one year or so could be crucial for Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) if its chairperson lands in jail for one or many of the charges brought against her. She and some of her trusted associates might also get implicated in some case or other. More turncoats might leave the party, pushing it towards a split.
It is obvious that the government is working to have BNP cut down to size. And let us say, the look of things suggests as of now, its days are going to be very challenging. One of the two largest political parties in this country has every possibility of being shunted to a siding, at least until the next parliamentary elections.
Come what may, the political arena is likely to get more polarized. What does it mean for the future, besides giving a clear signal of victory for the ruling party and its leaders? One-sided politics has the tragedy of an amputee, haunted forever by the ghost of his missing limb.
Whether we recognize it or not, politics in this country will be haunted by the ghost of its missing half. A political party enjoying large public support cannot be simply erased from the public mind. Even if the party and a few of its leaders “disappear”, the line of thinking or the ideological underpinning will remain deeply rooted in the imagination of its supporters and sympathizers alike.
It is said that nothing can stop an idea whose time has come. If the time has come for BNP to go, it will go but politics does not like vacuums. That means the end of BNP may not spell respite for the rulers. A number of other forces might rush to fill the vacuum and they might clash and collide to create more unrest in the country before yet another coalescent force rises from their ashes.
Unfortunate for a country is when politics cannibalizes itself. In other words, when the political parties turn to destroying instead of defeating each other, politics loses its context. That is when people get crushed like chilies between mortar and pestle of two contentious sides.
One of the many ironies of history is that it repeats itself, and it happens due to the dismal fact that nobody learns from his mistakes. BNP once thought it could crush its enemies and usurp power forever, as if deceleration does not work where there is no kinetic friction. The grenade attack on August 21 must have been motivated by such a senseless ambition.
Now that BNP faces systematic elimination, it proves two age-old adages that he who digs a pit will fall into it and what goes around comes around. When the victim turns into the victimizer, it perpetuates the cycle of vengeance!
Whether BNP stays or not, Bangladesh politics is heading for a deadlock. Politicians may win or not, but politics for sure is going to lose. Instead of moving forward, democracy is seeking fresh start. Meanwhile, the people of this country may have to sit tight and watch a smoldering tragedy in progress.
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