Eleventh J S election was held on 30, December. Mainly two alliances had contested in the election. One is Grand Alliance (AL + 14 parties alliances + JP + Jukta Front) headed by PM Sheikh Hasina and the other is Oikya Front (Ganoforum, KSP, JSD, Gano Oikya, BNP and its alliances) headed by Dr Kamal Hossain.
There is another Front known as Left Front of Left parties, but they have no mass-base. There are several Islamic parties but in election point of view, they are not factors. According to the results of December, 2008 under caretaker government AL and its alliances mainly (AL + JP) had got 55% (48% + 7%) votes. BNP and its alliances (BNP + Jammat) had got 35% (32% + 3%) votes.
Results of the election are based on mass base of the parties. It has been reflected in local bodies election including UP elections. It is mentionable that in the last UP elections AL got 70%, BNP 20% and others 10% of the total seats. The factors in favor of winning the election are mass support and activities of workers. Though large number of BNP- Jammat leaders and workers have joined AL in the last few years BNP- Jammat still has the support of the mass.
It is mentionable that in Bangladesh there has a strong base of religious institutions of majority community (places of worship - Mosque-Madrasa) where there is an orientation in orthodox and conservative line as well as motivation for hatred against others. At the same time there are allegations regarding corruptions and misdeeds in some sectors including banking sectors. There is an anti incumbency factor and there are anti AL forces for different reasons.
At the same time there are achievements of the government in different sectors led by PM Sheikh Hasina. GDP growth rate is above 7%, significant development works have been done in agriculture, industry, information technology, education, energy, health etc. Due to all these and social development average life time is now 72 years and per capita income has been increased to 1700 dollars.
Big projects like Padma bridge, Metro Rail, Rampal power plant, Rupoor Atomic Power Plant etc are being implemented. Significant steps have been taken to solve problems of religious and ethnic minorities and women empowerment.
The infrastructure developments are also going on. Police, RAB, BGB, Armed forces have been relent lessly working to maintain peace and development. There are terrorist, militant and communal forces. That's way they have attacked different places across the country. Administration has taken actions against militancy, terrorism and communal forces.
Considering above described factors, AL, its associates and anti factors against them the overall positions of election was in favor of AL. That's why; different national and international media predicted that Grand Alliance would win. During the election, I moved across the country. AL and its alliance had been controlling the field in most of the cases. Oikya front including BNP- Jammat couldn't mobilize their leaders, workers and supporters properly. That's why, if controlling of the situation indicates results, then naturally AL would do very well.
Local and foreign election observers said that national elections were peaceful and organized and 'far better' than the previous elections in Bangladesh. They said this is the best example of an election in Bangladesh. The observers said the election was held in a free and fair atmosphere.
Canadian observer Tania Foster and Chally Foster, Former Nepalese minister Hakikullah Muslim and MP Nazir Mia, Nepalese lawyer Advocate Mohammadin Ali, former president of Kolkata Press Club Kamal Bhattacharya, Lawyer Gautom Ghosh from Kolkata, Mohammed Ehsan Iqbal from Sri Lanka, and SAARC Human Rights Foundation director Masum Chowdhury were present during the press briefing.
All the officials involved with the voting process tried to do their best so that the voters can exercise their democratic rights with ease, the statement said. "Based on their (Election Commission) information, we can say it was a peaceful election and it's been far better than the previous elections," Prof Mohammed Abed Ali, executive director, Election Monitoring Forum, said.
Former President of Kolkata Press Club Kamal Bhattacharya said he had observed Bangladesh twice before as a reporter. "This time I came as an observer and I asked questions to the people in the queue for voting and nobody told me they faced any harassment or intimidation or threat before coming to the polling centre." OIC observers categorically said election was free and fair.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulated Awami League President Sheikh Hasina on her 'resounding victory' in the 11th national parliamentary election. Modi said he had spoken with Hasina and wished her well on her third consecutive term as prime minister.
Modi also tweeted out his congratulations from his personal Twitter account. The Indian prime minister brought into focus India's commitment to support the development of Bangladesh. He also expressed his hope that the two countries would strengthen their bilateral ties. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement:
"We welcome the successful completion of the parliamentary elections in Bangladesh. India warmly congratulates the people of Bangladesh for reaffirming their faith in democracy, development and the vision of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman." Meanwhile, welcoming the successful polls, Indian High Commission in Dhaka headed by HC H V Shringla has congratulated the people of Bangladesh for keeping faith again in the vision of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, development and democracy.
In a statement, IHC said, "We are happy with the successful completion of the parliamentary election in Bangladesh."The Awami League-led Grand Alliance won a massive landslide over its Jatiya Oikya Front opposition in polls. HC expressed this way in different meetings. External affairs minister Ms Sushma Swaraj talked to our foreign minister to express congratulations.
Congress parliamentary party chairperson Sonia Gandhi sent congratulations message to our PM. West Bengal and Tripura CM also congratulated Sheikh Hasina. Indian Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan congratulated our speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury on mobile. Above congratulations from one of the world leaders and neighboring democratic country. Indicates that India supports Bangladesh and PM Sheikh Hasina for peace, democracy and progress.
It is mentionable that BNP - Jammat ran destructive activities in 2013-15 to obstruct trial of war criminals and election of 2014. That time several hundred persons including persons of law enforcing agencies had been killed. India at that time openly supported Sheikh Hasina government, then other countries followed it. It may be remembered that India gave all out support during our liberation war.
Heads of state and government, from Soudi Arabia, Russa and China, have congratulated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on her party's landslide victory national polls. SAARC leaders of Nepal, Bhutan, SriLanka also congratulated Sheikh Hasina on obtaining victory.
USA, UK, EU expressed that participatory election is a positive development and they should address the complain of irregularities. From above information and discussion it is clear there is a world-wide acceptance and greetings from leaders of the countries.
There are criticisms, comments and questions regarding election and its results. There is a question about 80% casting of votes. There is a criticism about percentage of votes in favor of Al as well as Oikya front. Questions have been raised regarding the failure of BNP- Jammat. It is being propagated that AL and its alliance got direct support from administration especially police, Rab, law forcing agency including armed force-BGB.
It may be mentioned that in 2008 December election percentage of vote casting was 86%. BNP got 32%, AL got 48%. It must be mentioned that in 70's landslide victory AL got 76% vote. From 2009 up to 2018 BNP- Jammat failed to do sound politics. Rather they did destructive politics from 2013 to 2015, they tried to create obstruction to the trial of war criminals.
They not only boycotted election but also created obstructions and killed several hundred people including law enforcing persons. On the other hand, AL and its alliance headed by Bangabandhu's daughter Sheikh Hasina did remarkable work regarding development, progress and prosperity in all sectors. Though BNP and Oikya front headed by Dr Kamal Hossian expressed determination to establish spirit of liberation war and continuation of trial of war criminals. But BNP- Jammat 20 party's alliance did not mention about trial of war criminals.
At the same time Oikya front mentioned values of liberation war but didn't categorically mention about four principles of the 72 constitution that is secular democracy system. It is mentionable that Dr Kamal Hossian was the chairman of the drafting committee of the 72 constitution. Dr Kamal Hossian and some other leaders of Oikya front sometimes expressed their opinion to establish the spirit of liberation war but it has been proved through their manifesto and speeches that in association with BNP-Jammat it is not possible to uphold the spirit of liberation war.
Oikya front senior leaders asked their leaders, workers and supporters to remain in the field and to secure safety of the polling centers. They were dreaming about vote revolution in favor of Oikya front. Most of the leaders remain busy in Dhaka and like to give statements. They were in connection with ISI their telephonic talks and other evidences prove that.
It is proved Pakistan and ISI are patronizing terrorists, militant and communal forces. After the killing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975 Pakistan tried to establish Pakistani ideas with the help of their forces here. But Bangladesh under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina is moving forward in a remarkable way, on the other hand PM Imram Khan of Pakistan has agreed that Bangladesh is ahead of Pakistan regarding different indices of economy and social development.
It is evident from the description that the mass-base of BNP- Jammat has been declined. The above discussion brings into focus that BNP- Jammat's atrocities and destructive politics in the years of 2013, 2014 and 2015 deprived the part of the support of the mass people. Due to the declination of mass-base they failed to achieve their expected results in different elections, especially grass root level UP elections. However, due to their strong hold in some areas they achieved their expected results in the areas like Comilla and Sylhet city corporations.
This observation can be considered that if the Oikya-front could be able to mobilize themselves during the election in 2018, especially in the last few days they might win some more seats. So, they have to acknowledge failure ad face it democratically. We hope that Awami League ad its alliance under the leadership of PM Sheikh Hasina will carry out the development works and try to institutionalize the democratic system.
The writer is an academic, former ambassador and freedom fighter
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