POST TIME: 2 September, 2018 11:44:32 AM
Is United Front a hunchback’s dream
One fails to understand what type of United Front will be formed with the leadership of these people whose past and present politics are very questionable
Abdul Gaffar Choudhury

Is United Front a hunchback’s dream

The birthing period of the much expected United Front was prolonged. The baby has been born but not in a proper shape. Nobody is sure whether this baby will have a natural development because it is born with many defects. Before this baby, its guardians have tried to produce the same United Front many times and each time they failed because they are not birds of same feathers. They have different ideologies and different political motives. In the past people have observed their activities and quarrel among themselves for power and when they were in power their politics was for personal gain and not for people's welfare.
People have seen Dr. Kamal Hossain as a law minister of the country and the situation of law and order in Bangladesh during his time. As foreign minister his foreign policy of appeasing Pakistan ultimately resulted in the national tragedy of 15th August 1975. During the long period of Marshal Law and BNP-Jamaat regime his escapism from each and every people's movement retreating into a foreign country has deprived him of public respect and support. That is why he lost every election even the presidential election as a candidate of Awami League. He was a leading Awami League leader. People expected that after the killings of Bangabandhu and the four national leaders Kamal Hossain, who was safe and sound in Oxford would take over the mantel of his leader and come forward to join the struggle of people against the military regime, which did not happen.

But whenever the struggle was successful and the autocratic regimes were removed from power people saw him in the role of a self-declared angel advising the leaders who won victory against despots on how to establish a good government. His loyalty to his party and leader is questionable. When people expected him to guide Sheikh Hasina, he stabbed her on the back twice. One was in 1986. After election defeat he tried to remove Hasina from the leadership. Failing that he was hoping to divide Awami League by forming a new party with the breakaway leaders of that party. Nobody of Awami League responded to his call.

In 2001 at a very crucial moment of the country when an election wouldwas held to decide whether the country will be ruled by pro-liberation secular forces, or by the anti-people, anti-liberation unholy alliances he very cunningly took a role behind the scene to help them come to power.

All the time whenever people were struggling against a tyrant or an autocratic rule, Dr. Kamal was absent in the struggle having a good time in foreign lands. Sometimes he expressed his desire to retire from politics. Again the country survived a crisis and he was there to give a sermon on how the country can get back good governance. Nobody knows whether he is a right, left or a follower of the middle path. He started his political life as a young man of left leaning and very quickly became a dear disciple of Sheikh Mujib. But after Mujib's death we saw his different faces.

We have seen in different times that Dr. Kamal Hossain is very comfortable with Begum Khaleda Zia, even happy to dine with a war criminal like Maulana Matiur Rahman Nizami, the leader of Jamaat and now he is saying that he despises Jamaat. When there was continuous violence and killing of innocent people after the last election by BNP, Dr. Kamal Hossain was silent. Not a single word did he utter against the terror or BNP. But whenever a movement occurred in the Awami League regime like the recent road safety or quota system movement and police applied minimum force Kamal Hossain very vocally denounced the repression and became a mouthpiece of human rights.

Now the other leading force of this United Front was just declared in Dr. Kamal Hossain's Bailey Road residence who is Dr. B. Chowdhury. He is a very well-known name and his politics is also known to the people. He was one of the architects of BNP and a long-time associate of the military ruler Ziaur Rahman. During his leadership of BNP people saw his communal policies, collaboration with Jamaat and his role to help the fundamentalist forces in the country. Like Dr. Kamal Hossain, he was in his youth a person with left leaning. Even after the independence, he opposed Bangabandhu and was known as a pro-Bhashani person.

Like many other NAP-Bhashani leaders he changed his colour and became a close associate of a military dictator and his party. During an election of manoeuvring and fraud in 2001, he was the chief spokesman of BNP-Jamaat alliance and he himself joined the propaganda of communal hatred. With them joined ASM Abdur Rab, Mahmudur Rahman Mannah and the most controversial Dr. Muhammad Zafarullah, whose ever-changing faces in politics are best known to the people and does not require be discussed further.

I do not know what type of United Front will be formed with the leadership of these people whose past and present politics are very questionable. A Dhaka Newspaper reported that Dr. Kamal Hossain has told the press that if BNP dissociates with Jamaat he has no objection to be united with BNP. Secondly, the Front will not demand the release of Khaleda Zia. Thirdly, the front will not try to rehabilitate Tareq Rahman in the country's politics. It is a very cheap political stance to cover his ulterior motive to unite with BNP, so that people cannot allege him joining hands with anti-democratic forces. Now he wants to show himself as an anti-Jamaat leader because Jamaat collaborated with Pakistani invaders in 1971 genocide.

Now, what about BNP? Their founder leader and some of their military associates were directly or indirectly associated with killing of national leaders including Bangabandhu. Their rule in Bangladesh did not help to establish democracy but destroyed it and polluted the secular constitution which Dr. Kamal Hossain claims to be one of the makers of. Is there any difference between Jamaat and BNP? I have no doubt even if BNP declares that they have disassociated with Jamaat, it will be difficult for them to do it. How can they drive away the large number of leaders and workers of Jamaat who have infiltrated BNP and occupy important positions in it? If the Front does not demand the release of Khaleda Zia and BNP launches a movement for her release, even if the Front does not support it publicly, they will have to sympathize with it as BNP will be their ally.

Tarique Rahman is already rehabilitated in Bangladesh politics because BNP accepted him as the acting Chairperson. It is ludicrous to think that if BNP join United Front as a strong partner then that the other partners including Dr. Kamal Hossain would be able to ignore Tarique's presence in the Front.  How can Dr. Badruddoza absorb the humiliation at the hand of Tarique Rahman during his very brief presidency in Bangabhaban? Then there is a rumour that there had been a difference of opinion between Dr. Kamal and Dr. Chowdhury about their future positions after the election.

There appears to be an unwritten understanding that if the Front wins the election the Presidency and Premiership will be divided between them. It is the dream of a hunchback to see the moon by lying straight. Moreover, what about the position of Begum Khaleda Zia and her son? If BNP joins the United Front, they will be the largest party in it. If the Front wins the election it is unthinkable that Khaleda Zia or Tarique Rahman will allow these two doctors to enjoy the forbidden fruit by themselves. Even a mad person will not believe it. If this hodgepodge in the name of a United Front will be formed properly or have success, I have great doubt.

London, Thursday 30 August, 2018