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The Crocodiles Are Closing in: Everyday Life for a Local BNP Leader

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Masks of Authoritarianism
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Abstract

Over the past decade the rank and file of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) have faced severe and sustained repression at the hands of the ruling party’s cadre and state security agencies. Morale, finances and organizational capacity have been desperately weakened, while a new generation of activists is reported to be few and far between. Despite the magnitude of political change, little has been written on how these dynamics are experienced in the daily lives of the opposition. This chapter examines this through the case of Shumon, a Union Parishad member living on the outskirts of Dhaka and one of the ever-decreasing number of opposition members regularly found on the frontlines of protests in the capital. The case reveals how intense political risk and pressure have seeped into the daily lives of political opponents. Top-down political directives implemented by security agencies are undermining the informal norms and arrangements between local politicians which often provide a degree of protection to opposition members. There is little recourse in the face of state intimidation, threatening the financial, familial and political stability of opposition leaders. This leaves such figures with few options but to either comply, or resist, crafting ways of maintaining a following, while avoiding the eyes of the state.

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Bibliography

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Correspondence to David Jackman .

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Jackman, D. (2022). The Crocodiles Are Closing in: Everyday Life for a Local BNP Leader. In: Ruud, A.E., Hasan, M. (eds) Masks of Authoritarianism. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-4314-9_6

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