The fight for getting nominated for the next general elections gave us hope that the process would not be scuttled as per many rumours, but one may well wonder why many who earlier considered politics ‘dirty’, have rushed to win nomination.
Despite the risks and hazards, why even stars are entering the fray is a big question. We have already seen several murders suspected to be linked with the 30 December polls.
Take Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, the cricket heart-throb of the nation, while his teammates’ silver screen favourite Akbar Hossain Pathan Farooque, Baby Naznin and spouses of business tycoons or ex-lawmakers have joined the race and many have been lucky across the political divide.
Many of my friends were upset about Mashrafe going into politics. I agreed why such a good man is entering politics which might turn him into a rotten ‘politician.’ Maybe, he has thought it a good idea to join politics while he is still a star, to settle his future after giving years to Bangladesh cricket. He will be badly missed and will always remain under the scanner always whether he likes it or not.
Farooque, Naznin, and likes must understand that in an elected public office, they should not have dual roles simultaneously as a sportsman or a singer along with that of a lawmaker if they want to deliver to their constituents.
The initial phase would be great fun with stars dancing to the tune of their new-found identity, but soon reality will bring them many surprises. From political rivals to anybody who has a personal score to settle will leave no stone unturned to belittle them. I have seen this happen in my profession as I rose to be a somewhat well-known journalist.
From fictional allegations about my personal life, there have been attacks on me. If this can happen to me, what awaits for our stars entering ‘dirty politics’ is indeed worrisome. Will they stoop down low like their rivals or set new standards? Will they be smart and courageous enough to identify these unscrupulous people in public? Will they be able to clean our politics from such vicious people?
Now, let us turn to financial matters which are so important for our politics. Many questioned Mashrafe and others who had huge amounts of cash in their banks, why did they enter this dirty game of politics. This is a tricky question.
Actually, for most people, cash in the bank is never enough and they seek more and more. Business tycoons do not become tycoons straight away, but they look for more to be eventually labelled a tycoon. When they become tycoons, many of them wish for power and in Bangladesh the best way to get it is by becoming a Member of Parliament.
Another major question is the present public image that Mashrafe or Baby Naznin has clashes with the idea of their being ‘political friends’ of criminals or their wives.
If they cannot be friends with such dubious people, can they survive as successful politicians? I doubt it. What we would like to see, now they have pledged into their respective political parties, a serious move to change ‘dirty politics’ into ‘healthy politics.’
Will they publicly pledge to work with patriotism, the real patriotism, that will outshine the evil in favour of the good – a process which will eventually change the face of Bangladesh?
Nadeem Qadir is a UN Dag Hammarsjold Fellow and Roving Editor, the Asian Age.