Titled ‘Revisiting the local power structure in Bangladesh : Economic gain, political pain’ a report says that concentration of power by the ruling party has compromised the democratic space in Bangladesh
New Age| Dhaka
There is hardly any doubt about Bangladesh making considerable economic gains, but those come at a cost of democratic space, revealed a new study released on Wednesday.
The ruling party is controlling much of the available resources and their distribution is concentrated among the party’s supporters or those who have agreed not to embarrass the rulers, revealed the study.
‘But the overall picture of economic gains has not come without cost, which takes the form of “political pain”,’ said David Lewis, the lead author of the study and social policy and development professor at London School of Economics and Political Science, as he highlighted the study findings.
He said that the civil society space is limited than before as the power structure is becoming less flexible. ‘… local level political competition has also diminished as the ruling political party has consolidated its control of local power structure and weakened any formal political opposition,’ the study said in its conclusion.
‘The forms of political competition that do take place are now primarily expressed through increasing factionalism at local level within the ruling party,’ it added. Titled ‘Revisiting the local power structure in Bangladesh : Economic gain, political pain’, the study was jointly conducted by the LSE, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and the Embassy of Sweden. A book on the findings of the study was launched at a function held at a city hotel in the afternoon.
The co-author of the study was Abul Hossain, professor, department of sociology and anthropology, Green University. Local government expert Tofail Ahmed said that it was high time that people started critically examining the economic growth that was real but not equally beneficial to the people of the country. ‘Who are gaining from this situation?’ asked Tofail Ahmed.
‘Better infrastructure? Who is taking the benefit of it because we also know a large portion of the project budget goes to somebody’s pocket,’ said Tofail.
The study revealed that the distribution of resources under social safety net programme in the country is highly politicised and the ruling party is prioritising its supporters in the distribution.
‘No one yet knows what will fill the vacuum left by a weakened political opposition — — a new democratic politics, increased levels of factionalism and instability, or more sinister forms of extremist politics,’ the study said in its conclusion.
The story first appeared in the New Age read it here