Hiren Pandit: A free, impartial, and fair election was expected by all. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Awami League president has given an unprecedented and peaceful election to the people to keep her promises. Under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina, all the forces, including the forces of the supporters of the liberation war, worked intending to organize a credible election victory. Even if the party government is in power, if the Election Commission (EC) is allowed to function independently, there can be good elections.
The National Parliament election was held on January 7. The people of the country wanted a peaceful and safe election, that’s how our national election was held. Everyone has the right to do politics in a peaceful environment. The government also promised to provide all kinds of cooperation in organizing peaceful elections. The government has provided all kinds of support. The Election Commission has managed to organize a free, fair, and acceptable election by working completely independently.
This is the most positive aspect of this election. A significant number of people went to the polling booths to vote despite the obstruction of voters and various propaganda by boycotters. People voted and polling was done peacefully. There were some isolated incidents at two places and the Election Commission was cautious about these. Even the candidature of one candidate of the government party has been canceled. All in all, the election was participatory and peaceful. People were able to vote with great joy.
The election commission has managed the polling management very well. People voted without any harassment or trouble. A fair and impartial election was held and this election is acceptable to all. 41.08 percent of votes were cast in the election. Had there been no sabotage and terrorist activities, there would have been more votes. The disinformation spread by the boycotters created a kind of panic around polling day among the people.
In the beginning, the voter turnout was a little low but as the day advanced, the voter turnout increased. Most importantly, the election process was conducted fairly and transparently. A relatively good election was held within our electoral culture. The Election Commission has worked independently even under the party government. For the first time in the history of Bangladesh, the candidature of a ruling party MP candidate and a sitting MP has been canceled.
A precedent was set through it. Many were jailed and fined. Armed forces, BGB, police, and RAB are deployed all over the country on election day, so there is no chance of a fight. Those who could have prevented the conflict did not get a chance to come in front of the armed forces and create any kind of chaos. Apart from this, polling agents of independent candidates did not create any kind of obstacles, so there were no untoward incidents in the elections across the country.
Is the use of force ever consistent with democracy? Unfortunately for us, we always practice democracy on the face but in reality, we are dependent on power. As long as this continues, this crisis will continue until we cannot count on democracy as a way of life and a value. Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal claimed that the 12th National Assembly elections were free, fair, and impartial, saying that 41.08 percent of the votes were cast in the elections. He said that there are some challenges in the elections under the party government.
The election under the party government has been free, fair and impartial because of the sincerity and cooperation of the government. There were fears that voter turnout would be even lower. Attempts will be made to resist indirectly by boycotting elections. But we have seen people spontaneously go to the center and exercise their right to vote independently.
It would not be wrong to say that Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina’s strategic policy has been successful in the 12th National Assembly elections. The average voter turnout of 41.08 percent across the country, excluding the main opposition party BNP, undoubtedly left no room to question the election. Apart from that, the opinion of foreign observers about the election also highlights the acceptability of the election.
The results show that many heavyweight candidates and ministers of the current government have also been defeated in the elections. This also proves fair elections. Voting is a constitutional right of citizens. Article 11 of the Constitution provides for this. It is a fundamental right of a citizen. It is guaranteed as the right of expression in Article 39 of the Constitution. Human rights too,it is also declared as human rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.
Opposition parties have held rallies and rallies in support of their demands, announced the date and date of the fall of the government, police beat them to death, journalists were beaten to death and sent to hospitals, hospitals were vandalized, the houses of Supreme Court judges including the Chief Justice were attacked, people were burnt to death, railways sabotaged, did, as a result of which many children including children were killed.
This election was a bit different from other elections. Candidates are competing with the boat symbol after receiving the nomination of Awami League in this one election. On the other hand, party president Sheikh Hasina informed that those who did not get nominations can contest as independent candidates. A huge force was active in the country and outside the country to question the January 7 elections. Those who are contesting the elections with the symbol of Awami League or as an independent, keep this in mind. Party president Sheikh Hasina has taken a big risk.
She wants an election that will prove that fair and peaceful elections are possible even under a one-party government if there is goodwill. It bears in mind that one of the reasons for opening up the opportunity to participate in elections is to ensure voter turnout on election day. The more voters participate in this election, the more universality of the election will increase, which is what everyone who is participating in this election, including the Awami League president, wants. If this is done, those who want to question this election will have little to say.
Apart from the regular forces, the army has been on the ground since January 3 to maintain law and order before and after the elections. But everything depends on the parties and individuals who are participating in this election. Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that we are taking all measures to conduct the elections properly. I am very happy to organize a fair election. This victory is not my victory, it is the people’s victory. She said this at the exchange of greetings with local and foreign journalists and observers. Sheikh Hasina said this election was exceptional.
Usually, parties nominate candidates. This time I open the election to all besides giving candidates. She said that one party did not participate in the election because they never wanted to participate. Those created by military dictators do not have public support. They are afraid of elections. Our party is the people’s party. She mentioned that in this election, the people have elected us by voting, many of our independents have also been elected and elected from other parties, and the people of the country have elected by voting spontaneously. Awami League President mentioned, this victory is not my victory, I think it is the people’s victory. Because the right of the people here, the power to form the government is in their hands, which is my long struggle, the right of the people to vote, it has been done properly through this election, she said in an event organized by foreign observers and journalists.
Awami League’s goal this year is to transition the country from digital to smart Bangladesh. In this context, she said, technological capability is necessary to survive in the world competition in the era of the fourth industrial revolution. For this reason, it was announced to build ‘Smart Bangladesh’ by combining the four pillars of ‘Smart Citizen’, ‘Smart Government’, ‘Smart Economy’, and ‘Smart Society’. Implementation of Smart Bangladesh mentions work in each area. It has been promised to make Bangladesh a hunger-poverty-free Smart Sonar Bangla by 2041 if elected by the people.
As long as the healthy flow does not return to the politics of our country, the weakness of our internal politics will not be removed. A fair, beautiful, free, neutral and acceptable election was expected by all. Bangladesh is going to become a developing country. Bangladesh is working towards establishing a prosperous and smart Bangladesh, free from exploitation and discrimination, free from hunger and poverty through the implementation of SDGs. In a democratic regime, the best means of changing the government is through fair and free elections.
Through elections, the people can elect representatives of their choice and hold the governing power. Nothing is left out. This could be a significant event for Bangladesh elections. The people of the country eagerly waited to elect their representatives. Foreigners are very excited to watch our election. An ordeal for all. Hope everyone passed this ordeal. But in developing countries, political instability exists around elections. Free and fair elections are essential to institutionalize democracy.
The Election Commission is fulfilling its due responsibilities for free and fair elections. The Election Commission has been made fully independent by the new law. The Election Commission is now fully independent, strong, and responsible. So,a fair election is possible. Because all the responsibilities of conducting the election are on the Election Commission. Democracy means self-respect, justice, good governance, and human development, i.e. creating bonds of harmony and harmony with each other. Many people were in fear and panic about the 12th National Assembly elections.
There is always pre-election violence, unrest, or political tension. People always want fair, free, and peaceful elections in a fear-free environment. This demand is the fundamental right of the people. People do not want to stumble from getting this right. A large part of the population is common people. It is the responsibility of the elected government of a democratic state to make the common people happy. Security was firstly tightened so that voters could reach the center safely and cast their votes without fear, and the army was there as a striking force until a few days after the elections. This election has opened up new horizons to the nation and it has been possible to prove that a free, fair, impartial and creditable election is possible under a party government.
Hiren Pandit is a columnist
and a researcher.