Extra constitutional polity became inevitable

Sheikh Mujib and his Awami League forced the opposition to go underground and extra constitutional polity gained strength.

The deterioration of overall situation further accelerated. The government became desperate to annihilate the opposition. Because of the un-sucuplous and aimless impulsive policies of the government the whole process of constitutional democratic politics faced a serious crises. In a democracy no political party could ever consider the national constitution to be its own property. More than one political party was allowed to function under the constitution. The power rotated within those political parties. On the fundamental and important national issues they cooperated with each other. Constitutional democracy functioned on the basis of give and take, on the basis of mutual tolerance and accommodation. But in Bangladesh where the government was equating party with the state and mixing up state and party interests together, it was impossible for the constitutional democracy to flourish. On the other hand the weaknesses, lack of adequate strength, disunity etc. were considered to be stumbling blocks in the growth of a viable alternative. It was also doubtful whether the opposition would ever be able to muster enough strength at all under the ruthless suppression and terror of the government. The present process would not allow even Awami League to grow as a constitutional political party. Their unlawful activities were bound to axe the root of the constitution and constitutional politics. The flame of opposition however could not be extinguished by not allowing the opposition parties to grow. Such efforts in fact would force the opposition to go underground and thus extra constitutional polity would gain strength.

The unconstitutional and unlawful activities of the ruling party, their disrespect towards the rule of law and their undemocratic alteration of the constitution would up root the democratic parties all together. And as a result Awami League was bound to transform itself into a fascist political organization. Thus the character of the national politics would be extra constitutional and bloody confrontational. To fight the repressive autocracy the under ground opposition parties were most likely to resort to violence and armed struggle. Use of force would be predominant factor in the national politics. The anarchy would go beyond control. All the constitutional and democratic ways and means to change the government would gradually wither away.

On 11th Nov. 1973 in the annual conference of the Students Union Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Prime Minister in his inaugural speech said, "There is no difference whatsoever between the daciots and those who in the darkness of night murders innocent ordinary people, political workers and students. If they can kill innocent people then we also have the right to kill them". (Banga Barta 12th Nov. 1973). On the same day Maulana Bhashani, the Chairman of National Awami Party in a public meeting at Rajshahi said, "The way the government is physically eliminating the workers of the opposition parties. I can assure you that the process of constitutional politics is going to be closed very soon in the country. If the situation continues like this then it would be difficult to participate in any meeting or gathering. The country can not be ruled through oppression and killing people. Downfall came to Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, if politics of killing continuous then downfall of this regime is also inevitable. Take lesson from the history. No democratic government can survive without opposition parties and a democratic and constitutional process". (Banga Barta 12th Nov. 1973). JSD also had the same views about the killing of the workers from different opposition political parties. The thing, which became clear from all these statements of the government and the opposition was that none of them seem to agree that constitutional politics could still be perused in Bangladesh. Both sides were saying that present situation was not congenial for conducting democratic constitutional politics.

Two things in the above mentioned statement of the Prime Minister, the elected head of the government responsible for maintaining law and order and democracy drew special attention.

Firstly - he termed the members of the opposition parties as ‘dacoits’.

Secondly - he said that he had the right to kill those ‘dacoits’.

The practice to term the members of the opposition parties as dacoits, terrorists, anti state elements was nothing new. It started right from 1947. In 1950 the government of Mr. Nurul Amin termed the leaders of the anti government movement as the ‘sardars of the dacoits’. The killing of the political prisoners connected with Nachol uprising at Rajshahi and rape of Ila Bose by the police while in custody were also considered by the then government as their democratic rights.

In 1970 when people in East Pakistan raised the demand for the release of the political prisoners, at that time General Yahya Khan termed all the political leaders and the workers of the political parties of East Pakistan as bunch of ‘criminals’ and refused to concede to their demand. Later the flow of event proved the opposite. The Prime Minister was well aware of the consequences that a government could expect which accused the political opponents as dacoits and miscreants. His own personal experience in this regard was also not inadequate. It was needless to say that by discarding the lessons and the experiences of his long political carrier and repeating the same, Sheikh Mujib was not paving the way for democracy and institutional politics. The prevailing socio-economic and political condition and the ways and means that were being suggested both by the government and opposition to face the challenges only spoke of one thing that the democratic process and the constitutional politics in the country were bound to erode even further.