The search for stability

Bangladesh presently has been likened by some analysts to a ship in the high seas minus important parts of its navigation equipment. A ship is bound to drift without such aids. It cannot determine its course, regulate its course and steer successfully in the stormy sea. Bangladesh is seen as such a riskyship of state because of its present political culture of endless confrontation.
The reassuring factors which are necessary to make the vital forecasts for a nation even in the short run, are presently uncertain in Bangladesh . Rather apprehensions of Bangladeshis as well as outsiders are deepening in respect of the country’s stability from its worsening political confrontation.
This is no doubt, unacceptable for a nation which is burdened by very formidable economic problems. Common sense dictates that the only way it can ever expect to rise above these problems to start enjoying a reasonably decent economic existence is to set its political house in order so that greater economic opportunities can be created and sustained long into the future.
The best weapon against poverty, unemployment and poor standard of living is economic growth. Faster and higher economic growth is the universally proven and peddled prescription to overcome poverty and bring economic benefits to the greatest number of people in a country.
The benefits of economic growth may be skewed, it may favour certain sections of people above others. But even the trickle down from such growth is considered to be favourable for the poor than no growth or less growth.
This growth also needs to be on a long lasting basis, not just sound growth over one or two years followed by reverses in the next. Only continuous good economic growth over a long period of time can significantly improve income at the national and individual levels for a country like Bangladesh to shake off the yoke of poverty.
But this supreme aspiration of faster and higher economic growth on a long term basis in Bangladesh stands threatened by the prevailing political situation. Economic growth just does not happen. It depends on a variety of factors that mainly relate to investment conditions in a country.
But among these factors, one factor is rated to be indispensable in the taking of vital investment decisions which in turn determine whether a country will experience economic growth or not. A country may have comparatively less to offer to investors in different areas. But even then, investors may not call off their investment plans in that country if they find that political stability will prevail in it over the long run to provide security of their investments or reasonable returns from them which would not be possible if their operations are too disrupted by political turmoil.
Thus, Bangladesh needs consensus building in its political culture to build longer term political stability. Otherwise, it may be possible to muddle through but the same would not hold out any hope of achieving durable political stability. The major political parties need to come together and undertake solid and irrevocable agreements to build on a sustainable basis the framework of this stability.
The term of the present incumbent government is scheduled to end by December of the present year. Ideally, the tenure should end smoothly after the holding of a well participated national elections with the winners in them gracefully accepting the verdict of the electorate. But the way things are at present it does not seem that there will be smooth holding of such an election not to speak of peaceful transfer of power. This is expressly because of the principal opposition party, BNP, doggedly clinging on to its demand of a caretaker government before the polls bypassing the Constitutional mandates in relation to the election time government.
BNP is too keen on having its way to create the maximum favourable conditions for it to win the election callously throwing to the winds Constitutional requirements and other legalities. In other words it is adamant on creating a situation when it will be possible for it to hold sway over the election process and triumph. If the ruling party will not accommodate their pressure and designs on this score they will not participate in the national lections and unleash anarchy and havoc in public life as a way of protesting. Thus, much uncertainty hangs over Bangladesh as it heads towards the next general election.
Bangladesh needs consensus building in its political culture at the fastest to build longer term political stability. Otherwise, it may be possible to muddle through but the same would not hold out any hope of achieving durable political stability. The major political parties need to come together and undertake solid and irrevocable agreements to build on a sustainable basis the framework of this stability.


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