The Political landscape of a country is greatly influenced by the presence of citizen-oriented political parties. Citizens are the cornerstone around which the entire political system is built in a democracy. Political parties thus have a great deal of responsibility to the people they represent. On the other hand, a large number of political parties operate globally in opposition to the interests of the general public, prioritising their own. This essay examines the fundamental responsibilities of a citizen-focused political party, the role played by the major political parties, the surprising impact of certain industrialised nations on other nations’ democratic institutions, and the role that young voters play in selecting the best candidates.
The Responsibilities of a Citizen-Oriented Political Party
In a democracy, a political party focused on the interests of the people has many responsibilities, chief among them being representation of the people. It must prioritise policies that support social justice, economic equality, and cultural diversity while aiming for inclusivity and taking into account a variety of demographics, ideas, and needs. A robust democracy must also be built on the foundations of accountability and transparency, which call for open financial transactions, open decision-making procedures, and systems to combat corruption. Apart from this, the party must commit to implementing the policies, evaluating their effects and making necessary revisions. Furthermore, effective policy formulation is dependent on evidence and expert opinions. To develop an informed electorate, the party invests in outreach programmes and educational projects. Public education and engagement are essential. Apart from this, any political party must actively seek to end prejudice and injustice while respecting the values of equality, fairness, and free speech in order to defend human rights. Finally, a citizen-oriented political party ensures government accountability and a society that reflects the ideals and aspirations of its constituents while also serving the interests of its citizens and the general quality and vitality of the democratic system.
Birth of Bangladesh Awami League and its Contributions in History:
The Awami League, founded on June 23, 1949, emerged as a pivotal political force in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, under the visionary leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The party was formed as a breakaway faction from the Muslim League, Pakistan’s dominant political party at the time, due to the growing dissatisfaction among Bengalis with the central government’s policies and the lack of recognition for their distinct cultural and linguistic identity. This party played a crucial role in shaping the political landscape of the region and was instrumental in several key movements that ultimately led to the birth of Bangladesh as an independent nation. Firstly, the Awami League was established with the goal of advocating for the rights and autonomy of the Bengali-speaking population in East Pakistan. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, fondly known as the ‘Father of the Nation,’ was at the forefront, envisioning a society that celebrated linguistic and cultural diversity. Secondly, The Awami League played a vital role in the Language Movement of 1952, which aimed to establish Bengali as the official language of Pakistan. The movement culminated in the recognition of Bengali as one of the official languages, a significant triumph for the Bengali-speaking people and a testament to the power of unified mass movements. Thirdly, The Six-Point Movement, led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1966, was a landmark event that sought to address the economic and political disparities between East and West Pakistan. The movement demanded autonomy for East Pakistan in various spheres, including fiscal and military matters, marking a crucial step toward the recognition of the rights of the Bengali population. Next, the political landscape of Pakistan underwent a seismic shift in 1969, with a mass movement demanding an end to Ayub Khan’s regime. The Awami League, under the leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, played a pivotal role in this movement, contributing to the eventual resignation of President Ayub Khan and the transfer of power to General Yahya Khan. Finally, the Awami League’s demand for autonomy reached its climax during the Liberation War of 1971. Following the Pakistani military’s brutal crackdown on civilians, the Awami League declared the independence of Bangladesh on March 26, 1971. The ensuing nine-month-long struggle for independence, supported by the Indian military, culminated in the creation of Bangladesh on December 16, 1971. Most importantly, throughout these critical events, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman exhibited extraordinary leadership and resilience. His ability to unite the people of East Pakistan under a common cause, articulate their aspirations, and navigate through complex political challenges solidified his legacy as a charismatic and visionary leader. Sheikh Mujib’s unwavering commitment to the principles of democracy, justice, and self-determination laid the foundation for the independent and sovereign nation of Bangladesh.
Achievements of the Present Bangladesh Awami League Government:
The Awami League-led government of Bangladesh has achieved remarkable progress across various sectors, positioning the country for stability and prosperity. Economic indicators illustrate substantial growth, with a 7.25% GDP growth by 2023, surpassing the 5.40% under the previous BNP-Jamat coalition. Per capita income witnessed a five-fold increase, rising from $543 in 2006 to $2,824 in 2023, reflecting effective economic management. In addition, infrastructure and investment have seen significant boosts, with the development budget increasing more than twelve-fold to $87.56 billion by 2023. Furthermore, social improvements and poverty alleviation initiatives have led to a substantial decrease in the poverty rate from 41.51% in 2006 to 18.7% in 2023, accompanied by a nearly five-fold drop in extreme poverty. Health and education priorities have resulted in increased life expectancy (59 to 72.8 years), improved Human Development Index ranking (154th to 129th), and enhanced access to safe water and sanitary toilets. These achievements highlight the government’s commitment to inclusive development and its success in steering Bangladesh toward a more prosperous future, despite persistent challenges. The data underscores the significant strides made by the current administration, showcasing its dedication to addressing allegations and fostering comprehensive development for the nation and its people.
BNP, not a Citizen-oriented Party:
The BNP has been under criticism from the Awami League for allegedly introducing the 1975 Indemnity Act, which gave impunity to those responsible for the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family. According to the Awami League, this action spared the offenders from going to trial. Citing instances of purported authoritarianism under BNP leadership, the Awami League has charged that the BNP is a non-democratic party. Furthermore, the BNP was implicated in granting political positions and benefits to people who were alleged to have committed war crimes during the 1971 Liberation War and 1975 tragedy during the time of its administration. Once more, the Awami League has said that the BNP supports and has ties to radical and extremist groups, including as the Jamaat-e-Islami party, which is well-known for its strict conservative ideology. In addition, the BNP is charged with corruption for alleged acts of misappropriation of public funds and corrupt practises committed while in power. Additionally, the BNP is held accountable for mismanaging the economy and energy sector during their rule, implying that the nation’s economic circumstances deteriorated while they were in power. The current honourable prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, was among the numerous people injured and several people killed in the August 21, 2004, grenade attack on an Awami League gathering in Dhaka. The Awami League has accused the BNP of being involved in or complicit in this incident. Finally, the Awami League has pointed to incidents of violence and criminal activities, such as arson attacks on buses and educational institutions in 2014 has attributed these actions to BNP and its political allies. After the chaos on 28 October 2023 created by BNP members, fire arson and destructions of public properties are going on. These criminal activities should be avoided by any citizen-oriented political party for the smooth economic development of Bangladesh.
The USA Factor:
The United States, as a major global power, has historically engaged in various forms of interference in the elections and governments of other nations to advance its national interests. These interventions, while not unique to the U.S., serve as a crucial component of its foreign policy toolkit. The functions of U.S. interference encompass geopolitical influence, where the U.S. supports changes in government to align with its strategic interests; economic considerations, including securing favourable trade agreements and protecting American business interests; the promotion of democracy, albeit inconsistently aligned with the principles of self-determination; addressing security concerns by supporting allies in the fight against terrorism or containing perceived threats; ideological alignment with leaders advocating for free-market policies and human rights; efforts to foster regional stability by preventing the rise of disruptive governments or movements; and the establishment of strategic alliances to enhance influence and cooperation. However, U.S. interference has been a source of controversy and criticism, with concerns raised about undermining sovereignty, democratic processes, and stability in targeted countries. For instance, presently they are unfortunately trying to interfere in the upcoming 12th parliamentary election of Bangladesh. The motivations and consequences of U.S. interference are recognized as complex and multifaceted, shaped by geopolitical, economic, and security considerations.
Young Voters to Make Right Choice:
Young voters play a critical role in democratic societies because of their active participation in determining the political climate of the future in every country. It is crucial to vote for the right candidates for a number of reasons, such as influencing policies that will affect them in the future, bringing a diversity of viewpoints to politics, addressing issues that are unique to young people, encouraging civic engagement, promoting social change, holding elected officials accountable, battling voter apathy, and ultimately protecting and enhancing democracy. Young voters’ combined influence is emphasised as a driving force behind constructive social change and the advancement of an equitable and inclusive future. The young voters of Bangladesh have an important role to play in the upcoming general election to support the continuation of development of Bangladesh upholding the dignity of our national identity.
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