|Slogan||March Ahead, Bangladesh|
|Founded||February 17, 2007|
|Dissolved||May 3, 2007|
|Ideology||Secularism, Social liberalism|
|Politics of Bangladesh
Nagorik Shakti (Bengali: নাগরিক শক্তি) was a proposed political party in Bangladesh. It was conceived in by 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. "Nagorik Shakti" means "Citizen's Power". Yunus communicated his ideas to the people of the nation and asked for feedbacks by writing a total of three letters addressed to the citizens in the prominent national daily The Daily Star. Yunus discontinued his venture in 2007 citing lack of interested eligible candidates.
Political situation of Bangladesh
Bangladeshi politics was marred by instability, especially during the turmoil of 2006-08. Most top politicians, including former Prime Ministers Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina were imprisoned on corruption charges, and a state of emergency existed. Hence, to counter the rampant corruption in politics, Yunus proposed a political party run by clean honest people.
In early 2006 Yunus, along with other members of the civil society including Professor Rehman Sobhan, Justice Muhammad Habibur Rahman, Dr Kamal Hossain, Matiur Rahman, Mahfuz Anam and Debapriya Bhattchariya, participated in a campaign for honest and clean candidates in national elections. He considered entering politics in the later part of that year.
The First Letter
On 11 February 2007, Yunus wrote an open letter, published in the Bangladeshi newspaper Daily Star, where he asked citizens for views on his plan to float a political party to establish political goodwill, proper leadership and good governance. In the letter, he called on everyone to briefly outline how he should go about the task and how they can contribute to it.
Yunus finally announced the foundation of a new party tentatively called Citizens' Power (Nagorik Shakti) on 18 February 2007. There was speculation that the army supported a move by Yunus into politics.
The Second Letter
The second letter written by Yunus addressed to the citizens expressed his interests to join politics, outlining the foundations and principles of the party, a detailed organizational structure for the grassroots of the party, and featured addresses to women, the young, and the expatriates.
Motto and Principles
Bangladesh egiye cholo or "March Ahead, Bangladesh" was to be the theme title of the movement, as declared in the second letter to the people. Among its aims is the reinstatement of a secular constitution as well as gains in female empowerment and the fight against poverty and corruption. It will attempt to appoint capable leaders with a commitment to honest governance and accountability. Dr. Yunus intended to make Bangladesh an economical check-point in South Asia by opening up its ports and establishing global ties.
Yunus outlined the organizational structure of the party through his second letter to the people.
The organization of Nagorik Shakti was to be mostly based on the rural areas of Bangladesh: the villages. It was assumed that there will be 20 working people, and hoped that the parties will avoid going down the path of the more unruly elements in Bangladeshi politics by avoiding formal showdown such as public meetings, preferring instead to convince the electorate by proclaiming facts. Each unit should have 50% female worker-supporter and must have at least 33%. Ideally, females and young people should be among the party's key players. Each team or group must be able to nominate others to higher positions and this practice should be carried on right up to constituency level. Party expenses will be covered by its members.
Conflict of interest with Grameen Bank
Yunus wants to avoid accusations of conflict of interest between his role in Shakti and with the Grameen Bank—the pioneering microcredit lender he founded in 1976. He has stated that he will reduce his involvement with the Bank, and that no Grameen Bank executives will be involved with the party.
Reactions in the political arena
Right from its inception, the party has caused quite a stir in political circles. Though many political leaders initially remained tight-lipped, some expressed their bitterness regarding the party.
Then Former Premier Sheikh Hasina expressed her displeasure over Yunus joining politics, saying, "Newcomers in politics are dangerous elements and are to be viewed with suspicion, they often do more harm to the nation than good."
Mufti Aminee, one of the former four-party alliance leaders was even less charitable in his views on the Professor, saying "Dr. Yunus is an enemy of the country, nation and Islam."
The Third Letter
- Yunus, Muhammad (February 23, 2007). "Yunus' second letter". The Daily Star. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- Yunus, Muhammad. "3rd letter from Prof. Yunus". Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- PTI (September 4, 2007). "Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina become neighbours...in prison". Rediff. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- "The coup that dare not speak its name". The Economist. Jan 18, 2007. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- "Parliament with honest, efficient must for development". The New Nation. 21 March 2006. Retrieved 22 August 2007.
- Staff Correspondent (18 October 2006). "Yunus not willing to be caretaker chief". The Daily Star. Vol 5 Num 853. Retrieved 18 August 2007.
- Staff Correspondent (12 February 2007). "Yunus seeks people's views on floating political party". The Daily Star. Vol 5 Num 961. Retrieved 18 August 2007.
- "Yunus names his political party Nagorik Shakti". The New Age. Feb 18, 2007. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- Siddique, Islam (18 February 2007). "Bangladesh Nobel Laureate Announces His Political Party's Name". AHN. 7006502326. Retrieved 18 August 2007.
- Staff Reporter (12 February 2007). "'I will do politics of unity': Yunus names his party Nagorik Shakti". The New Nation. 34138. Retrieved 18 August 2007.[dead link]
- Mustafa, Sabir (5 April 2007). "Bangladesh at a crossroads". BBC. Retrieved 18 August 2007. "At first glance, the current state of Bangladesh appears to be a paradox : a country under a state of emergency, but where the general public seem quite content."
- "Yunus floats party styled Nagorik Shakti". The Daily Star. 2006-02-23. Retrieved 2007-05-09.
- "Yunus drops plans to enter politics". Al Jazeera. 18 February 2007. Retrieved 18 August 2007.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Nagorik Shakti|
- Nagorik Shakti - Election Campaign Website