Academic journal article Madhya Pradesh Journal of Social Sciences

Criminalization and Corruption in Bangladesh: Recent Trends and Dimensions

Academic journal article Madhya Pradesh Journal of Social Sciences

Criminalization and Corruption in Bangladesh: Recent Trends and Dimensions

Article excerpt

Introduction

Admittedly, when this military-backed government took over, there were rising expectations among the large section of the people. (1) The euphoria was such that it was even lauded as a blessing in disguise. However, one has to wait to ascertain whether it can really deliver or botch up things further.

However, it failed to contain--to cite one prime example--the businessmen from manipulating the market at will and virtually crumbled to their guiles thus showing a big chink in its confidence as well as efficiency. Interestingly enough, Bangladesh's stepping back into the road to democracy resulted from an election in 1991 under a unique system, namely neutral caretaker government.

Arguably, this caretaker system of government took a better shape through constitutional modifications in 1996 and, that, too, following mass movement. However, the gloomy side of the development is that this very innovative system of government failed to hold fourth elections on the trot. Then, the very pertinent question follows: has the deficiency of the system been badly exposed or machinations of worst forms, as alleged, rendered that system ineffective?

More unfortunately, however, the whole of Bangladesh and beyond saw repulsive efforts to misinterpret even the Constitution by different political parties with the then ruling party ruling the roost in manipulating the provisions of Bangladesh Constitution for allegedly facilitating its way back to power.

However, in the process, another novel yet sinister phenomenon--election engineering--gained currency in the election politics of Bangladesh. Though, initially, it was regarded just as an opposition party propaganda tool against the ruling coalition of nationalist and Islamic forces, the very mechanism allegedly began to sprout during the last few months of 4-party alliance government as well as Iajauddin-led caretaker government.

To many, however,--as demonstrated in various state functions--the caretaker government headed by Iajuddin Ahmed was, to all intents and purposes, an extension of 4-party alliance rule. Whether he was persuaded or forced, President Iajuddin Ahmed's --despite being a party nominated president--taking up or usurping the role of chief of caretaker government dealt a severe blow to the non-party character of the caretaker system.

All these events led to a face off scenario between the immediate past ruling party block and the past opposition party alliance. Interesting indeed, a sort of crusade ensued between the two alliances, one alliance committing to hold the elections in 2007 at any cost for the sake of safeguarding the Constitution while the other was determined to resist the same tooth and nail for safeguarding the voting rights of the people.

There were, however, widespread allegations that both alliances were so absorbed in the delusion of state power that they failed to reach even a modicum of comprise, which is inarguably the cornerstone of democracy. Painfully enough, despite rhetorical commitment and prolonged struggles to establish democracy, the political parties of Bangladesh have miserably failed to establish a consensus over the ground rules for democratic competition and dissent. (2)

It is no wonder that such politics breeds a politicized bureaucracy and a malfeasant system of law and order. These instruments of governance, operating without accountability and transparency, lead the machinery of state being used as a political resource rather than an instrument of governance. (3) Even the casual observers could discern the very existence of such a horrible politicized scenario in Bangladesh in the recent past.

It is obvious that good governance is a must for the development and growth of a nation. (4) And, the most important distinction among countries relates not to their form of government but to their degree of government. (5) The tumultuous politics and politicized state institutions have always had a bearing on governance and Bangladesh case was hardly an exception. …

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