AL, allies deny people rights to vote, again

THE city corporation elections in Dhaka and Chittagong on Tuesday turned into what the Awami League government had apparently scripted them to be — a farce, a festivity of fraudulence and a celebration of deliberate denial of people’s constitutionally guaranteed right to elect their representatives. It was not unexpected though, in view of the elaborate dress rehearsal by the leaders and activists of the ruling party and its front organisations in terms of widespread and wholesale violence and violation of electoral code of conduct in the run-up to the polling day. Also not unexpected was the role that the Election Commission, the police and other law enforcement agencies generally played — of silent spectators and, worst still, active accomplices — as the local-level leaders and activists of the ruling party and its front organisations ran riot practically at each and every polling centre and booth. Only a political party completely isolated from people can commit such misdeeds.
And their misdeeds were multiple and multidimensional — capturing of polling centres, assault on and ouster of polling agents of rival candidates, even those backed by lesser political parties, stuffing of ballot boxes, even before the designated start of polling at some centres, so on and so forth. Moreover, in an apparent bid to preclude the presence of any eyewitness to such misdeeds, photojournalists and camera crews of print, electronic and online media outlets were denied access to many polling centres and/or assaulted and forced out of many others, again with significant help from law enforcers and election officials. It is thus hardly surprising that the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party-backed mayoral candidates in Dhaka and Chittagong pulled out of the elections within a few hours of the official start to polling, as did an independent candidate while the candidate supported by the left-leaning Gana Sanghati Andolan rejected the election results.
Shamelessly still, amidst the farce being played out in Dhaka and Chittagong, the prime minister said the incumbents would accept the election results regardless of who wins or loses. In the same vein, the joint general secretary of the Awami League asserted at a post-election briefing that the BNP had foreseen ‘imminent defeat’ and pulled out of the race in a ‘dramatic fashion’, in an ‘ill attempt to start another violent movement’. ‘Dramatic’ and ‘ill-motivated’ its boycott was or not, the BNP definitely foresaw ‘imminent defeat’; after all, in the script that the incumbents wrote, ‘victory’ is reserved only for the candidates of their choice, as it so brazenly was in the general elections and the final three phases of the upazila elections last year.
In any case, the fraudulent and farcical city corporation elections on Tuesday provides the strongest testimony yet to the fact that the Awami League is simply incapable of holding free and fair elections — national and local. These election also drive the final nail in the coffin for the notion that people’s fundamental rights to franchise is secure in the hands of the incumbents. The choice thus that people at large are left with is either to play along with the AL government’s whims and wishes or wrestle back their right to freely and fairly elect their representatives — national and local — through intense and sustained mobilisation.

3 Comments

  1. Well written piece- depicted a very fair and true picture of the misdeeds committed by the ruling party members. Unfortunately comments like this is falling into deaf years and hardened minds causing unnecessary and untold sufferings of the mass. The door to democracy has been shut till miracles happen. People have chosen leaders in 2008 that they cannot change till the leaders are alive or they are dead.

    • “The door to democracy has been shut till miracles happen.” “Miracles” against fascist
      government sometimes happen. But such miracles unfortunately can’t happen keeping the fascist alive! The fascist often fails to know the people’s mind before that because s/he is surrounded by sycophants…Then who is/are responsible for such sad miracles? Sycophants or the fascist??

      .

  2. Fearful NA!

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