Participatory democracy in grass root level : the pattern of participation in Election of three Unions of Chittagong Hill Tracts
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Participatory democracy situates by this concept that, every citizen is political actor and participation in election is political right of a citizen. Participatory democracy is crucial for empowerment of marginal people. The political culture and social practices are refined in participatory democracy where every citizen acts dynamic role in the governance process. The primary institutional arrangement of the participatory democracy is election (John, 2005). ‘Election through franchises’ and ‘Right to Vote’ is the fundamental aspect of political participation. The voting is linked with sound democratic process and declining of voting rates express as deficit of democracy. There are several studies, where demographic attributes, psychological motivations, and social networks have been found as factors of measuring of voting and other form of political participation. The imitation of participatory democracy in grass root level of Bangladesh began by political decentralization and UPs are particular local government institutions preside by election as political institutions. The UPs are consisting of elected representatives of local units. In this study to ascertain the strength of political participation, a diminutive locality and its election participation pattern has been chosen where diverse pattern of demographic characteristics and in general geopolitical situation is prevailed. The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) is area with 5,093 square miles (13,295 square kilometer), which constitutes about 10 percent of the total area of Bangladesh. The Chittagong Hill Tracts comprises with three districts- Rangamati, Khagrachri and Bandarban. The geographical position of Hill Tracts is different from other part of Bangladesh. In this study the Belaichari Upazilla(Sub-district) of Rangamati district has been chosen for research. There are seven minor ethnic communities in this locality who are - Chakma, Marma, Tripura, Phankho, Tanchangya, Bowm, and Kheyang. The demographic characteristics of different ethnic communities’ respondents’ of the Bilaichari Upazilla include - language, religion, customs and tradition. Practically the spotlight of the study is limited to three unions of Belaichari Upazila and four minor ethnic communities’ respondent interviewed for the study. The varied minor ethnics’ demography and individual cultural traditions of each minor community’s of the study area explores the scope to discover the community engagement in political participation. In this study socio economical condition, social trend, traditions and political ambience of the study area has been considered to determine the pattern of people participation. The Circle Chief, the Headman and the Karbari are traditional social institutions in Chittagong Hill Tracts, which are prevailing in Hill Tracts from British period. The present roles of the traditional leaders are to collection the rent of land on behalf of government and they are assigned by the government for resolving the social disputes. There are 68 traditional leaders in the study area and eight traditional leaders have been interviewed in consent to ascertain their vulnerabilities and potentialities in societal democratic process. The study noticed the external and internal factors where diverse pattern of participation is affecting by several intangible factors. The study will endow with perceived discussion about political and historical site of CHT. The research work addressed the role of social institutions, how those are influencing on political participation, especially on election participation.