ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Nurturing Democracy

ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL WEEKLY Nurturing Democracy In the context of events and developments in the subcontinent in the recent past, it would be difficult to escape the conclusion that the strengthening of democratic philosophies and practices in south Asia is critical to the resolution of the turmoil in the countries of the region. Neither can it be denied that India, with its long history as a vibrant and continuously evolving parliamentary democracy, has a leading role to describe in this transformation. Over last week Bangladesh has come to a virtual halt because of a strike called and organised by the Awami League-led opposition to support its demand that the prime minister and her cabinet should resign. Over the last month violence has been a constant feature, the climax, if it may be called that, being the bomb attack on the Awami League rally which very nearly wiped out the entire leadership of the party. Over the past decades after its violent struggle for independence, Bangladesh has not had a chance to grow its democratic roots. Neither of the two political formations, one led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the other by the Awami League, that have alternately ruled the country, has been able to affect a long-term national reconciliation. that would contain the politics of confrontation. The roots of malgovernance are long and deep in the country and contrarily the exigencies of parliamentary democracy have failed to provide the impetus for its uprooting. Over the recent past, the situation has been exacerbated by an increasing intolerance, sectarianism and inevitably a tendency to use the India angle notwithstanding or perhaps because of the new initiatives on inter-country trade. Through all this however, Bangladesh has registered significant progress on several fronts

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