Opposition parties should stand by victims of the illiberal democracy as the state system was being dominated by one-party rule, civil society representatives said while sharing their views in a programme of Left Democratic Alliance, or LDA on Monday.
Citing history of autocracy in some foreign countries, they opined that end of an authoritarian government happened following successful mass upsurge.
LDA coordinator and Communist Party of Bangladesh general secretary Mohammad Shah Alam, in his welcome speech, took issue with the country’s electoral system, which, he argued, was totally damaged by the incumbent government.
‘The controversial 11th national election on December 30 hammered the final nail in the coffin of the country’s struggling electoral system,’ he said.
The views exchange was held at Tofazzal Hossain Manik Miah auditorium in Dhaka, where Shah Alam narrated reports on election-time violence shared by the LDA contestants during a public hearing on January 11.
Terming the December 30 polls as unprecedented in the country’s history, Shah Alam raised the question of ethics concerning teachers under whose guidance children were to prepare for a rational future. What knowledge would they impart after the government had compelled them to ballot-box stuffing when serving polling duties, he asked.
Supreme Court lawyer Shahdeen Malik said the government had forced around 18 lakh people from administration, law enforcement agencies and educational institutions to be party to a hoax while discharging their polls duties on December 30.
He said the country has entered into the club of one-party states.
Dhaka University’s economics Professor MM Akash said that December 30 polls was a desperate exhibition of illiberal democracy in which the ruling party swapped people’s voting rights for its survival.
Another Supreme Court lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua said that the country’s colonial legal system created loopholes when illegal electioneering went unpunished.
Dhaka University’s honourary history Professor Ahmed Kamal said opposition politicians, particularly the leftists, now should hear from mass people to garner overwhelming support in favour of exerting political pressure on the ruling elites.
Socialist Party of Bangladesh general secretary Khalequzzaman, Biplabi Workers Party general secretary Saiful Huq, Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal-Marxist convener Mobinul Hayder Chowdhury, United Communist League general secretary Mosharraf Hossain Nannu, Bangladesher Samajtantrik Andolan convener Hamidul Haque, Ganosamhati Andolan chief coordinator Zonayed Saki, BSD leader Bazlur Rashid Firoz and Ganatantrik Biplabi Party leader Mominul Islam were present among others.