11th National Election

Implication encircling the people & the leaders

Published : Tuesday, 13 November, 2018 at 12:00 AM
After declaration of election schedule on Nov 8, the 11th parliamentary elections on Dec 23 have become a reality in front of the Bangladeshi people. With several twists in the form of huge demands and dialogues, Jatiyo Oikyofront has also confirmed to participate in the much anticipated elections though they have urged to delay the elections for a month which was very much possible under the provisions of the constitution. But on Nov 12, the Election Commission has rescheduled the elections on Dec 30, a seven-day delay from the first date. 

For the last decade, Bangladesh has established itself as the role model of development in front of the world moving up in almost all indices and the current ruling party obviously requires praise for that. But there is a lot more to do. With many large projects ongoing or in planning phase, Bangladesh aims much further. Hence, the outcome of the next general elections will be vital for not only the next five years but also for the upcoming fifty years. Moreover, the next government of Bangladesh will celebrate 50 years of our independence which calls for upholding and strengthening the ideology of liberation war. Hence, this election is going to be very significant for our country.

A huge responsibility will be on the shoulders of the Bangladeshi citizens to bring in such a party or alliance in power which will be completely dedicated towards the development of Bangladesh only. It will be very hard for us to forget about our personal profit or loss while focusing on the betterment of the whole nation. We need to judge the works and commitment of the leaders. We need to analyze how the works initiated today will influence the future of Bangladesh – to seal our position as a developing country for which our good works are required to be continued. It is not the next five years that we should be concerned about rather we should eye on our triumph in the long term.

A free, fair and credible election is the demand of all Bangladeshi people. Bangladesh, being a democratic country, cannot deny the people of their rights. The concept of democracy is based on the power of the people. We hope an unbiased election is awaiting us where we can practice our voting rights and can elect the representatives of our choice. Everyone wants an election with participation of all parties. But irrespective of the factor that if all parties or alliances take part in the elections or not, our responsibility remains the same – to trace out and vote for those leaders who will take our country to new heights.

As soon as the election schedule was declared, the ruling party Awami League has stated the process of nomination. Thousands of leaders from all around Bangladesh are collecting nomination forms with dreams of getting party nomination. The ruling party is doing everything on time and is on the right track to approach the elections. But the situation is not similar for the opposition parties as it was claimed by the Jatiyo Oikyofront that it would be very hard for them to participate in the elections with the declared Election Day. Their voice was heard and the election is delayed for seven days though they should have been well prepared especially when they have a huge task to bridge the gap with the people considering the long time they were wasting on different agendas.

During the last decade, the politics of Bangladesh has hovered around the current prime minister of Bangladesh and chairperson of the ruling party Awami league Sheikh Hasina. She has become the sole face of Bangladesh reaching such heights with influence beyond national boundary. Being a global leader, she is acclaimed in global forums for her farsightedness and accomplishments. 

Dynamic leadership and valiant attitude of Sheikh Hasina is solely responsible for Bangladesh’s progress during the last two terms of the government. All Bangladeshi people, irrespective of their political identity, have respect for her inside. But considering the excessive load she is bearing to take the nation forward added with her age and physical fitness after severe grenade attacks, the next five years might be the last term for her as the head of state despite our desire to see her on that role for a much longer period. Hence, if people votes for her, hopefully she will try to engrave her name in golden letters in the history of Bangladesh with continuing good works.

Though to enrich the country’s future, only the gravity of PM’s leadership is not going to be enough. Other elected leaders should be highly dedicated and committed to the welfare of the country. But unfortunately, we have not much seen such leaders. The people have suffered on several occasions due to the reckless works, words or behaviours of several ruling party leaders which do not comply with the people-oriented attitude of the PM. Parties must nominate good candidates and people must choose good leaders. If corrupt and selfish leaders receive nominations, then even PM Hasina will not be able to wipe off her responsibility as that might take away all her good deeds till now.

On the other hand, for Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its alliance Jatiyo Oikyofront, it will be vital to convince the people that the ongoing development will not stop if they form the government as is feared all around Bangladesh. They also need to nominate the candidates very carefully. Only the dedicated, uncorrupt and committed leaders who have worked for the people for a long time and have noteworthy contribution to the society should receive the nominations. And if they can do so, then they might be able to reduce their huge gap with the people. 

This election is going to be significant for many reasons. Firstly, after restoration of democracy in 1990, this will be the first election without Jamaat-e-Islami as their registration had been cancelled by the Election Commission. Jamaat, being a fundamentalist party, was responsible for many anti-state or anti-sovereignty acts. Many of their top leaders, upholding the anti-state sentiment, were punished for war crimes and happily for Bangladesh, the political identity of this party and their leaders were abolished at last. Secondly, BNP is going to participate in the elections for the first time without their leadership. It is obvious that, neither Begum Khaleda Zia nor Tarique Rahman will be able to participate in the next elections and even if BNP’s alliance wins the elections, it is doubtful if Begum Zia or Tarique will be able to return to the Bangladeshi politics.

The election schedule is declared, nomination form is being distributed but yet no sign of election manifesto from any party. There is no campaign of the electoral commitments from any party. The people are yet to know who will do what for them and the time is very limited.

There are three things that all parties must do if elected – eliminating corruption, eliminating drugs and protecting environment. Both Awami League and Jatiyo Oikyofront must focus on these three areas and these should be included in the manifesto with high priority. Bangladesh ranked 176th out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index this year,- the lowest ranking for a South Asian nation and an alarming development given the government’s claims of reforms and developments. 

Due to the persistent corruption, our development in infrastructure or power is not improving investment situation. Drugs is destroying the youth in such an extent that the without eliminating drugs we cannot sustain our progress. And without protecting nature through reducing different pollutions like; water pollution, air pollution, sound pollution, food pollution etc. and facilitating natural developments, other improvements cannot be sustained in the long run. Hence all the parties of Bangladesh must include these three issues in their manifestos.

The government has till now completed its roles perfectly to facilitate the elections as they have successfully brought the oppositions in the elections without making any non-constitutional adjustments. Now, EC has to serve on its action plans. For example; the EC asked all aspirant candidates to remove banners, posters, billboards, graffiti, arches and illuminations by midnight on Nov 14 at their own cost as any such campaign is prohibited until allocation of electoral symbols on Nov 30. As almost every streets and walls of Bangladesh is already filled with such campaign materials, the EC should take strict actions to remove these materials. If EC strictly removes these as they ordered, then the people will have a bit confidence over the EC’s willingness to hold a fair election. So, the Election Commission must fulfill their duties very carefully now as a lot depends on them.

The government, the opposition, the Election Commission and the people – all are focused on the next national elections which will be held before Jan 28, 2019 for sure. It is really appreciable that, Jatiyo Oikyofront will be in the contest too. But it is important that good leaders receive nominations and gets elected as only good leaders irrespective of their political identity can ensure continuation of our progress while completely concentrating on people’s welfare. We hope, our voters are wise enough to think long term in choosing their leadership so that our developments never experience a halt.
The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla and Vice-Chairman, Democracy Research Center (DRC)


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