A new coalition of seven fringe parties fighting for political relevance, styled “Democratic Front”, has emerged on the political landscape wanting to overthrow the government.
The parties that formed the alliance are the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal or JSD, Nagorik Oikya, Bangladesh Revolutionary Workers Party, Ganasanghati Andolan, Gana Adhikar Parishad, Bhasani Followers Council and Rashtra Sangskar Andolan.
While officially announcing the coalition on Monday, JSD President ASM Abdur Rab said the Democratic Front seeks to establish a Bangladesh “in the spirit of the Liberation War and people’s desires” backed by the country’s history.
It aims to topple the government, bring changes to how the state runs and carry out governance and constitutional reforms, he added.
Rab called on people from all walks of life to establish “war councils of the Democratic Front” in every district, Upazila, municipality, industry and association.
The formation of this coalition caused a splinter in the Left Democratic Alliance several months ago as Revolutionary Workers Party and Ganasanghati Andolan broke off from the left alliance to join in.
The Ganatantrik Bam Morcha (Democratic Left Front) was formed in 2013 with an aim to forge a larger coalition among the progressive groups outside the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Five years later, the Left Democratic Alliance came into being and the parties stood in the 11th parliamentary election in 2018 but failed to find success.
Nagorik Oikya and JSD were part of the BNP-led Jatiya Oikya Front. At the same time, Gana Adhikar Parishad leader Reza Kibria was elected from the Gana Forum, a partner of the Jatiya Oikya Front.
Jatiya Oikya Front nominated Gana Forum’s Dr Kamal Hossain as representative and won only seven seats in the national polls and the failure gradually rendered the front defunct.
Kibria recently formed another party with former Chhatra Adhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad leader Nurul Haque Nur. Bhashani Followers Council along with Rashtra Sangskar Andolan have moved with Gana Adhikar Parishad over the past few years.
Rab said the new coalition will include all those involved in making their plans a reality and others related to fields of science, arts, literature, and culture in the movement.
“That will be an effective national unity. This coalition will bring about mass awakening and uprising… everyone must take to the streets in this battle of democracy as this is a fight to stay alive and we must win it.”
“Remember, we must watch those tormenting the people closely. We must not let them escape.”
Presenting an outline of the coalition, Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna said the Democratic Front “feels obliged” to deliver people “a specific target of change and a planned, larger united movement”.
“We won't be able to achieve anything a democratic system has -- voting rights, interim government, freedom, neutrality and credible elections -- if we don't end the misrule of the incumbent fascist government."
Manna stressed the government “must step down, dissolve the parliament and hand over power to an interim government based on political consensus”.
The interim government, he said, will “reconstitute the Election Commission, reshuffle the administration, enact registration laws to ensure an individual’s rights to vote and to be voted, amend the election laws and policy, and scrap the EVM system to restore transparent election through ballot box casting”.
The interim government will also aid in establishing unanimity among the parties over revising governmental and constitutional structures during elections.
Manna also floated a seven-point proposal to establish democratic provision for “socio-economic development and political reforms”.
The Democratic Front will demonstrate against “police brutality, torture and assault, rising commodity prices, cost hike of fuel and daily necessities, and government’s indifference” at 11pm on Aug 11. The location of the protest will be announced later.