Politics is once again in its intense moment. There is the newly formed Jatiyo Oikyo Front which the Prime Minister has welcomed as part of democracy. But questions have already been raised because of the front’s taking the BNP on board without quite dealing with the question of how the party, which has played a controversial role in such areas as national history and upholding it, means to handle the future. At the press conference where the formation of the front was announced, Dr. Kamal Hossain spoke of the ideals of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He was making a single point --- that he envisaged politics to be reinvented in light of Bangabandhu’s dreams for this country.
The problem with such expressions of sentiment at the press conference, however, is that they do not answer the question of how Bangabandhu’s ideals can be established when one of the components of the front has for decades been doing everything to undermine and indeed airbrush the Father of the Nation out of history. In other words, no clear vetting of what the BNP stands for at this stage of its existence was done before it was invited to join the Jatiyo Oikyo Front. That is a significant weakness of the front which the ruling Awami League and all secular forces will happily exploit in their own ways. There is too the fact that certain individuals involved with the Democratic League of the infamous Khondokar Moshtaq are part of the front. Overall, therefore, the front gives the impression of being an assortment of people whose agenda has been a pathological hatred of the Awami League.
As for the demands of the front regarding free and fair elections, a level playing field for all parties and persons, et cetera, we have no disagreement on them. However, it is also true that the front is a union of people with disparate views of politics. The question now is whether the Jatiyo Oikyo Front will dominate the BNP or the BNP will manipulate the front into doing its bidding. The coming weeks, perhaps months, will call for deep observation and scrutiny.