The upcoming general elections in Bangladesh mean that many of us will be able to cast our votes for the first time in our lives. Casting your important vote is not just choosing between a few candidates or political parties but it also means that you are getting involved in the decision making process of our country. Some of you are in colleges and universities; some are fresh graduates, some study business and commerce while some other study medicine or engineering. But through this election the whole nation has been brought together to a simple objective hoping for a better future.
I personally feel overwhelmed by the idea of being able to cast my vote for the first time. This surely is a stepping-stone for the youth of Bangladesh towards bringing about a better, brighter future. A Bangladesh where there is no corruption and poverty, a Bangladesh flourishing in technological advancements that we can all be proud of, a Bangladesh having national leaders on whom all of us can look up to should no longer be a dream. It is high time that we start implementing it rather than wait for someone else to do it for us. As much as it is important for us to educate ourselves and lead our country in the future in all aspects, it must also be remembered that we should also involve ourselves on political matters, not move away from it in fear or disgust, or more sadly, indifference!
So question is what is all the big hype about the ongoing National ID registration? There have been elections before and there have been voter registrations before why and how is this one so special and different?
This time, the voter registration process in Bangladesh is very different from the earlier ones because it has been designed in a way to make rigging in the elections almost completely impossible. Rigging in elections has always remained a major hurdle to free and fair elections in the past in this country and the present government is determined to stop this from happening at any cost. Furthermore, the Voter ID will also work as a National ID (NID), which has a range of benefits of its own. The major purposes, which are likely to be served by the NID, include:
1. For commercial banks and insurance companies
2. Getting admitted in colleges and universities
3. For domestic travel in trains, buses and airplanes
4. For identification of people in different professions
5. Employers can easily get information about their prospective employees
6. For land (and other assets) registration and for dealings in the Stock Exchange
7. For proper distribution of seeds, fertilizers and other such agricultural items from the government.
8. For easy identification of disabled and aged citizens and freedom fighters.
9. The NID will be a person's personal identification and will be the proof of his citizenship
…and last but not the least,
10. Serving as a Voter ID
In spite of all these, a section of the young voters in Bangladesh feel that 'a free and fair' elections in Bangladesh is not enough to bring peace and harmony in the society. According to them, it is often seen that in a given constituency, candidates most likely to come out winners all have some level of disrepute! But showing indifference cannot cure this situation. It must be remembered that we, the youth of Bangladesh can only bring about a change when we ourselves become part of the decision making process. And the process of establishing an effective democracy must start by having a free and fair election with wide participation. So I'd like to conclude here by saying that all of you who still have not registered for the National ID please do so now and when the much awaited elections do come, to go and cast your vote, which is one of your basic human rights in a democratic country.
(R) thedailystar.net 2008