Business leaders and politics
Thursday, 25 September 2008

Businesspersons have as much right as anyone else to be concerned about political or any other issues and they have a right to express those views either individually or collectively. As a matter of fact, due to the power of their wealth they are more likely to be heard and their opinions considered more sympathetically by the government as well as politicians, than any other socio-economic group within our polity. 21 September's iftar party by the FBCCI was certainly not the first attempt by the business body to influence politics. One remembers the business lobby's hectic activities, immediately before the Emergency was imposed, to bring the AL and the BNP to an understanding but that attempt failed ushering in the Emergency; this attempt too is likely to fail. Perhaps the approach of businesspersons is too naive in expecting that an iftar party will bring together political leaders and their opinions, divided by ideologies, electoral politics, personal predilections and prejudices of decades. Most importantly, what businesspersons are failing to take into consideration is the fact that major political parties have their own imperatives and are not only answerable to their constituencies but to the entire Nation and so, they cannot be publicly seen aligned to one particular lobby of businesspersons or anyone else. As far as the recent moves to get Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia to a one-on-one dialogue is concerned, one does not seen much of a role of the FBCCI or any other business body in that for the simple fact that these two leaders can talk to each other any time they want without the need of intermediaries smoothing the way; after all these too ladies are citizens of the same Country too, leading its major political parties and are as much concerned about the Country as everyone else is. Moreover why would anyone expect that two different mass-based political parties would see eye-to-eye on major public issues; they won't and they need not because both AL and BNP would go with their agendas and programs to the public who will than give their verdict, on which set of policies they prefer, through votes. The businesspersons have their own arena to look after and they ought to concentrate there without being detracted by politics.

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