Economist Professor Rehman Sobhan thinks that in order to establish a credible democratic system in the country, there should be a system of free, fair and competitive elections at all levels from the Jatiya Sangsad to the Union Parishad. He said those who will be elected through competitive elections will know that they have got the government based on the support of the people.
This was stated by Professor Rehman Sobhan at the 21st biennial conference of Bangladesh Economic Association. The first day of the two-day conference, held at the Institution of Engineers auditorium in the capital, was on Friday. Professor Rehman Sobhan joined it through virtual.
The conference was attended by members of economic associations from different districts of the country. In his keynote address, Rehman Sobhan, Chairman, Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD), recalled the promises made to the people of the country before the war of liberation. As he talks about the progress of the country, he also highlights the aspects of failure.
Mentioning that the country has moved far away from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s idea of a society free from exploitation, Rehman Sobhan said that the system of governance in the country has now become unjust. Explaining how, he said, the country has all the rules or laws. But it does not apply in the same way to everyone. He mentioned that these promises have been made to the nation in the freedom struggle. As a result, there is a need to protect them.
Rehman Sobhan said that in order to fulfill the dream of the nation to become a developed state by 2041, the people’s representatives must be elected by the people. Like him, ‘Now we have to ask ourselves, how far have we come with this goal or what we have to do for it.
However, Rehman Sobhan also mentioned that free and fair elections are not enough. He said who is representing the people is also important. Businessmen at all levels are now representing the people. About 80 percent of MPs are businessmen. The rest of us, too, may have a business relationship. But in a democratic system, people at all levels should be represented, especially the majority class. He added, “After spending so much money in Parliament, they will naturally try to ensure the dividend of this investment.” However, those who did politics during Bangabandhu’s time did not have that much money. The situation is such that even in the Union Parishad elections, killings are taking place. Because, being a member of the council has become a very lucrative thing.
Professor Rehman Sobhan mentioned that Bangabandhu not only wanted to liberate the nation from the hands of foreign rulers but also from the hands of domestic exploiters. He said, “This time the struggle is for our liberation, this time the struggle is for freedom” – Bangabandhu has clearly given the message of freedom through these words. The nation has got independence. But the struggle for liberation is much more complicated.
Rehman Sobhan said, ‘Bangladesh has achieved a lot since independence. We have surpassed Pakistan in almost all indices. But inequality in society has increased and the environment of politics has not become inclusive. These issues must be taken into account by the nation. ‘
On the first day of the biennial conference of the Economic Association, the president of the organization, economist Abul Barkat, was awarded the Mujib Gold Medal in recognition of his special contribution to economics.
Abul Barkat said that Bangabandhu spoke of freedom and liberation struggle at the same time. But even when independence came to the country