Bangladesh’s incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has won a consecutive third term with a thumping majority of 288 seats out of 300. As per reports, the main opposition party BNP has been reduced to a mere 7 seats.
PM Modi has reportedly held a telephonic conversation with Sheikh Hasina and congratulated her on her victory.
This will be Hasina’s fourth term as PM and the third consecutive term since 2009. The outgoing Awami League government held 234 seats in the 300 seat parliament. The country has 10.4 crores registered voters but the percentage of voter turnout is yet to be shared.
In 2014, the main opposition BNP had boycotted the elections. Hasina’s Awami league had won 153 of the seats uncontested. In the current election, Awami League fought 10 years of anti-incumbency and a united opposition of former PM Khalida Zia’s BNP, Jatiya Oikya Prokriya led by Kamal Hossain, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, and Nagorik Oikya. The united opposition was named Jatiya Oikya Front and presented Kamal Hossain as its leader.
Winning a whopping 288 seats this time, Hasina’s party has left only 7 seats for the opposition. The opposition leaders and many media outlets have been accusing of election rigging and foul play. But the Bangladesh Election Commission has stated that it is investigating the allegations of vote rigging.
As many as 18 people have reportedly died in poll violence yesterday. Many of them reportedly members of the ruling party. After cases of violence during campaigning phase, security had been beefed up for the elections. 6 lakh security personnel had been deployed and mobile internet services were shut down in several places to avoid law and order issues.
The leader of the opposition, Kamal Hossain has alleged that the elections were ‘farcical’ and demanded re-election. He reportedly alleged that the opposition alliance will convene today to decide on future action. He also added that a caretaker government should be formed to conduct re-elections.
The Awami League has denied the allegations of rigging. Sajeeb Wazid, Hasina’s son and Awami League leader has stated that elections were peaceful and long queues of voters were seen casting their votes peacefully in polling booths.
Hasina’s government has maintained a good relationship with the Narendra Modi led NDA government of India. The last 10 years of Hasina’s governance is credited with economic prosperity and boosting the GDP. Awami League has promised to raise minimum wages for the textile industry which is Bangladesh’s major export and take growth rate ahead to 10% from the current 7.8%.
Hasina’s archrival and former PM Khalida Zia, who was the leader of BNP, has been serving a 10-year prison term on charges of corruption and had been barred from contesting polls.
Hasina, called ‘Jananetri’ or the leader of the people, is widely regarded for her crackdown on Islamist extremists and her stand on the Rohingya issue. India shares a 4000 km long border with the Islamic majority country.