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Development partners may play a role for banning `religious card’ in election

| by Swadesh Roy

( June 30, 2013, Dhaka, Sri Lanka Guardian) Bangladesh has a good number of democratic development partner countries and some of world organizations want a sustainable development in Bangladesh. They also want a proper women empowerment in the country. Both have been working with Bangladesh for a long time. It is true that, along with the Bangladeshi people they have also got a indication after four local government elections in Bangladesh that Islamic fundamentalists are using religion in a very awful way. In this four local government election, development issues have loosed against the `religion business card’. It is a red signal for the development in Bangladesh and the women empowerment.

The religious force who sale the card in the name of religion they are two identified group in Bangladesh. One, newly formed so-called political force Hefajat Islam and other Jammat –E- Islam. More than two and a half months ago, Hefajat Islam declared their 13-point demand, which is totally against women empowerment even it is also against the origin of the birth of Bangladesh. On the other hand, what Jammat –E-Islam has done last more than six months is known to our development partners. Besides, their student organization is recognized as a terrorist organization by the state department of the America.

Now these two Islamic fundamentalist groups have ridden on the back of the Bangladesh Nationalist party (BNP), the main opposition of the country. These two are not only on the back of the BNP but also they are now in the driving seat. It is clear now in the Bangladesh politics that the strategy of the alliance of BNP in the national politics is this `religion Business card.’ They will play the card in any dirty way they can. They now only want to win in the election and take over the power, not the development of the country and uphold the modern democratic politics. However, what is the ultimate result of it? If the BNP goes in this way, they have to surrender to the fundamentalist.

On the other hand, though Bangladesh is a dense populated country but it has a good number of young women and men populations. . They are eighteen to twenty five. It is possible to change this young force to good working force for global economy. We know that, though the big market of the product is still in the west but production place has been sifted in Asia. That is why the cost of the work force is increasing day by day in every country of the Asia. Despite the cost of the labor of Bangladesh will continue a suitable rate more than two decade. It is also one of the main causes of the incessant growth of economy. For this continuous growth, women labor will be one of the main factors. By any means, if Bangladesh wants to maintain this incessant growth of economy, it must run in a liberal democratic process that is in favor of gender equivalent and modern education.

We know that our development partners have been investing here a large capital for a long time to develop the economy and the society. So, they are always advocating here in favor of democratic and a modern society. For this reason, they have invested a lot for improving our voting system. By the help of the development partners and our own investment, we have improved a lot in our voting system. In spite of that, it is a continuous process. Now the country has seen that, the `religious business card’ is such a dreadful growth in the system of the election which must be turned into cancer ultimately. So if Bangladesh does not remove it from the body of the election system, it will ruin our election and the total democratic system. If Bangladesh looses the real democratic system and if through the election, this type of Islamic fundamentalist group come out that will be a disaster for the country. Bangladesh will slide down from the continuous development process. The society of Bangladesh will go down in a deep crisis because the mindset of Banglali society is not fundamentalist, they believe in religion like western society. Besides, now there is no difference between the western young generation and the young educated Bangladeshi generation. They are making themselves connected always with the west through the information technology and the modern education. The trend of educated young generation of Bangladesh is like other developed Asian countries who are now living in a western life.

In the way , the economy and the society of Bangladesh are running, it is obvious that it will reach that goal within one and half decade. So the responsible member of the civil society, politicians, business leaders and the development partners of the country have to think seriously regarding this `religious business card’ that has already used in the election. It is true, Bangladesh is lucky that is has happened in a local election which has no business in the policy making for the country and the society. So, it is the best time to find out a way how the country will throw it out from the voting system. Many countries have a strong law that, it is hard punishable crime to use religion in election. Bangladesh should go forward on that way immediately for making a strong law for banning the use of religion in the election campaign along with other activities of it and development partners should help seriously on this issue.

Swadesh Roy, Executive Editor, The Daily Janakantha, Dhaka, Bangladesh he can be reached at swadeshroy@gmail.com

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