Recently someone asked me the following question:
“how do u reckon the chance of Dr. Younus, the 'man of the moment' in Bangladesh, joining hands with old horses like Dr. Kamal and Dr. B. Chowdhury???? And, what could be the result in that case, any idea???”
I'd like to split my answer into three. 1. Will it happen? 2. What if it happened? 3. What probably will happen?
Well the first answer is quite easy. Not likely. Though given current turns that politics in Bangladesh have taken, cannot be ruled out.
The second answer is somewhat more complex. To understand it I think we have to analyze each of the components of the equation.
Dr. Y: riding high after the Nobel. Plus has tremendous amount of goodwill without any major political baggage. He, I believe, can galvanize a lot of popular support. And if he made the request, many "clean" candidates will take the plunge. But so far he has disappointed me personally. Over the last few months (since his Anti Corruption Commission article in early '05 - my criticism in my blog) he has made many calls and inspired others without necessarily leading from the front. As a leader you need to be at head of the charge. His ideas are great but we don't need ideas as much as we need someone to take the reins and say this is where we are going. Dr Y has failed there.
Dr. K: a man with impeccable mental ability. He is someone who is articulate in his thought and decisive in his judgment. The biggest mistake he made was forming Gono Forum. Though I was a supporter of the GF in the '96 elections, I never thought they had a chance. Dr. K would have been better as an "elder statesman". He could have been like a political ombudsman; one who could be the nation's conscience. We would go to him at times of crisis like this or when we needed guidance or a goal. Unfortunately he is now seen to be a small partial player.
Dr. B: another articulate man. He has enough personal charisma to charm the voters. Over the years has built up excellent organizational skill and experience to run a grassroots political party. He has enough cache with the international community, civil society and general mass to have pulled himself above petty politics and take a stand on issues. His initial gambit of putting out political posters with Bhasani, Mujib and Zia was a marketing / PR genius! Unfortunately it has been downhill since then. He has failed to build his party. Why, he has failed to appeal to even the middle class intellectuals who are looking for leadership. He has failed to show what he stands for. The recent LDP is a good initiative though they still haven't given us clarity about their philosophy and guiding principles. While LDP makes a big thing about the corruption of BNP's Hawa Bhaban crowd, they have amongst them the notoriously dishonest Jahanara Begum and morally corrupt Alamgir Kabir.
On paper Dr. Y + Dr. K + Dr. B = winning combination. But in reality I think it has the potential of blowing up in our faces. Or even worse - dying without even a whimper!
If we can get Dr. Y to join active politics, why do we need the other two? They bring baggage that some of the Gen71 (amongst others) will find that they cannot live with. Dr. Y himself is good enough to bring moral strength and fortitude to build an honest, efficient and effective third force. Just think about it. If he called you and said "I'm looking for people who will join my new crusade, will you accept?" I don't know about you, but I will be willing to give up my world to stand behind him. And I know hundreds if not thousands other who will as well.
Dr. K + Dr. B did try the formula without the "magic" ingredient. But it did not create a stir.
The answer to the third question is that Dr. K & Dr. B have already have understanding of the political maneuvering need till the next elections. Dr. K will go back to the AL for support and Dr. B to LDP. Hence it looks as if LDP and AL will have a pre-election agreement. The basis of this agreement I think will be that AL will agree not to put any candidates in 25-30 constituency where LDP candidates have a chance of winning. LDP will also run campaigns in another, say, 100 odd seats where they will play the role of "spoiler". That is they will split the old BNP votes and in-turn allow the AL candidate to win. Do remember that the winning margin in more than 150 seats in the 2001 election was in single digits. Even a small 4% swing of voters away from the BNP can lead to a loss of these seats. [For election analysis see http://nazimkamranchoudhury.blogspot.com]
Dr. Y in the meantime will not do too much except keep saying that we need "clean" candidates in the election.
Dr. Y + Dr. B + Dr. K = could be, would be, should be!