Head of Dipendra Kandel Initiative (DKI), a delegation from Nepal, attended a press conference at Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka. He expressed his satisfaction to observe the voting centres of Dhaka 06 and 13. He appreciated the calm and quite voting system and atmosphere of Bangladesh. He criticised the statement of EU that was made before the election.
He hoped that Bangladesh will prosper both, technologically and economically. A delegation from India, the largest democracy in the world, talked with the journalists at Hotel Sonargaon regarding the parliament election of Bangladesh. He said that the parliamentary election is held in a calm and peaceful atmosphere. The presence of huge voters was very remarkable. The Election Commission of Bangladesh again has shown its efficiency by arranging such a good election.
Narendra Modi; being the biggest ally of the incumbent and Prime Minister of India has already issued a statement congratulating Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on her grand victory. Similarly, Chinese President Xi Jinping has also greeted the Bangladesh Prime Minister. The United States, European Union, the United Kingdom as well as other nations too are expected to renew their support to the dynamic leadership of Sheikh Hasina and her Awami League government.
People of Bangladesh have rightly denounced the militant-friendly BNP-Jamaat alliance by expressing their verdict through ballots in the 2018 general polls. Through this election, Bangladesh has reminded the friends of militancy that Bangladesh would never welcome radical Islamist parties like Jamaat-E-Islaami or their cohorts to power again. While BNP and its alliance members have been trying to impugn the results of the election, statistics and results of previous polls show that the results of today’s election were very much anticipated.
Awami League has never had a negative swing in popular vote since the 1991 general election in Bangladesh. Although Awami League lost in the 2001 general election, it was merely bad luck. In 2001, Awami League received 40.02% of the popular vote (which was 2.62% more than the percentage of popular votes received by Awami League in the 1996 election) – however, Awami League could only bag 60 of the 300 parliament seats.
In 2008, Awami League regained the majority and received 16% more popular vote than BNP-Jamaat alliance. However, the final verdict of condemning militancy came today through the 11th parliamentary election where Awami League has clearly won a landslide victory with the most popular votes than ever yet.
30% of the voters in Bangladesh are under 30 – most of them do not support Jamaat-E-Islami for being a party that is involved with militancy and war crime during the 1971 liberation war of Bangladesh. Recently, a large number of voters has grown intolerant towards militancy notably after the terrorist attack in Holey Artisan bakery at Dhaka in July 2016. BNP, by siding with Jamaat, has forced people with an anti-militant mindset to vote against the BNP-Jamaat alliance.
After the humiliating defeat of militancy, BNP-Jamaat demanded a fresh election and claims that the election was rigged. However, except sporadic violence (in which, most of the deceased were supporters or members of Bangladesh Awami League), the election was mostly free and fair, said the foreign observers.
Tania Foster, a member of the foreign observer team said, “Everyone is getting access to their polling station and able to cast their ballot and all of the officers and officials are doing a great job to maintain order. I have been to five centres so far and a number of polling booths and everything that I have observed to this point have demonstrated that it’s been really orderly that are the voters are feeling empowered and enthusiastic about being able to come and vote.”
Many might wonder, how could a disorganised party like Jatiyo Party emerge as the second largest group in 2018 election, beating BNP? The truth is, during the past 10 years, even Jatiyo Party has emerged as a more competent political rival of Awami League than BNP – mainly because, the leader of BNP is serving rigorous imprisonment in a corruption case while its second in command is living in exile as a fugitive.
Today, BNP is considering Dr Kamal Hossain as their political guru. It should be mentioned here that Dr Kamal Hossain has always had his security forfeited whenever he contested in a general election in Bangladesh. BNP sided with him from a misconception that Dr Kamal Hossain is more influential than Dr Muhammad Yunus.
The truth is, save his few clients abroad, no one outside Bangladesh knows who Kamal Hossain is. From 2001 to 2006, when BNP was in power, the activities of various militancy groups, like the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, were very conspicuous. Terrorist attacks were a regular thing, and radicalization was, not at all, opposed by the parties then in power.
Hundreds were killed in countless terrorist attacks throughout Bangladesh. Can the families of the affected ever forget that? Will they ever vote them back to power? The answer, any sane person would give, is – no, people of Bangladesh who have suffered so much due to the savagery of those radical Islamists, would certainly not vote Jamaat or its allies back power again.
Some might think that the recent quota reform protests or the road safety protest were anti-government protests and that that the intensity of those protests show the youth’s disapproval to the Awami League government. They are terribly wrong.
Students who took part in those protests were seen to have pictures of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in their hands. Their slogan was “victory to Bangla” which has always been the slogan of Bangladesh Awami League.
Considering these two things, isn’t it clearly evident that the students merely were against a particular system but had unwavering support towards Awami League Sheikh Mujibur Rahman enjoys a special place in the hearts of young people of Bangladesh. To them, Sheikh Mujib is a symbol of independence and sovereignty of Bangladesh. 2018 general polls were a roar of the people against militancy and a mere reflection of Bangladeshi people’s utter support towards the incumbent.