Bangladesh Polls: Violence May Mar Credibility | Security Risks Asia Made with Humane Club

Bangladesh Polls: Violence May Mar Credibility

Published Dec 22, 2018
Updated Jun 05, 2020

There are limited number of international observers deployed for the elections, thus charges of violence cannot be substantiated thus overall outcome may remain contested.

A large number of incidents of violence and allegations of the opposition that a number of their leaders have been put behind bars on specious grounds and campaigning has been disrupted has sullied the atmosphere in the Jatiya Sansad polls to be held on 30 December in Bangladesh.

Jatiya Oikyafront’s leader Dr Kamal Hossain alleged that the police was biased towards the opposition and activists were being harassed. “The level of harassment is unprecedented and contrary to constitution,” the key leader of the opposition alliance, said at a press conference in Dhaka as reported by the Bangladesh Daily Star. “The police force is being used centrally to nab opposition leaders and activists,” he alleged says the Bangladesh Daily Star. “This hampers the congenial atmosphere of election.”

The Jatiya Oikyafront evolved as an alliance on 13 October to oppose the ruling Awami League. The Front has provided a platform for the truncated main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and includes Dr Kamal Hossain-led Jatiya Oikya Prokriya, ASM Abdur Rob’s Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, and Mahmudur Rahman Manna’s Nagorik Oikya.

The BNP would have found itself on a limb without the Oikyafront and has now gained some standing as the Party organisation was in a disarray with the absence of Chairperson Khaleda Zia in jail and son Tarique Rehman in exile in London.

The spread of the campaigning for the ruling Awami League led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina appears to be smooth thus further adding to the allegations of the opposition of specific targeting by the police and law enforcement agencies.

The popularity of the PM Sheikh Hasina denotes that the Party will  return to power even though the parliament is likely to be more representative than that which was voted in 2014 as main opposition party BNP which had boycotted then is participating in the polls. 

The success of the Awami League thoough may remain a contested due to constant allegations of witch hunting by the opposition. The ruling party however contends that the BNP and its supporters are raising false charges as an excuse for impending defeat. There are limited number of international observers deployed for the elections, thus charges by either side cannot be substantiated thus the overall outcome may remain contested.