POST TIME: 1 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
The significance of Gazipur victory for upcoming general election
My firm belief is that all the conspiracies against the holding of the general election in December will not succeed. BNP, whether its leader is in or out of the prison, will participate in the general election
Abdul Gaffar Choudhury

The significance of Gazipur victory for upcoming general election

At last Gazipur City Corporation election was held and Awami League won. The election was delayed. Though there were varied reasons for shifting the date of the election, some people said that Awami League was not prepared for it. The date was changed and Awami League could organise themselves and could win a historic victory. This victory was a must for Awami League. After this election there are three more City Corporation elections in Barisal, Rajshahi and Sylhet. Moreover, general election is scheduled only after 5 months in December. The election results in these City Corporations will undoubtedly influence the minds of voters in the general election. Awami League knew it and fought the Gazipur election with all their might.

After the result was out BNP started their habitual cry of foul play in the election. But the election result itself showed that there was no chance of a foul play in the Gazipur contest. The difference of votes between Awami candidate Jahangir Alam and BNP candidate Hasan Uddin Sarker was 2 lakhs and 300. Jahangir Alam got more than 4 lakhs votes and the BNP candidate was far behind him. If the margin between the two candidates was 40-50,000 there was chance and opportunity of voting fraud. But the number of the votes for the winner is so huge that a foul play in the election was unthinkable. In the polling stations BNP had sizable supporters and their polling agents. Then how in that circumstance the fraudulent game could be played?

It seems victory was ensured for Awami candidate for his youthful exuberance and popularity. He had no questionable past and is popular for his philanthropist works. Hasan Uddin Sarker, his opponent, was a candidate with vast experience. He was mayor, Zila Parishad chairman and Jatiya Sangsad member twice in the past. But he is 70 years old and his political past is controversial. He changed his political allegiance quite a few times. Naturally, Gazipur election was turned into a fight between old and new generation, and the new generation won the battle.

Some of my friends from Gazipur, informed me that there were some fake votes in the election in a very small scale. No election in the subcontinent is free from this type of irregularities. In Gazipur, the election was postponed in 9 centres, but the number of those votes were so small that it did not affect the AL candidate. Now BNP is trying to make this a big issue. But they have forgtten that during their rule the foul play in Magura by-election was on such a large scale that voters could not enter into the polling booths and the the-then Chief election Commissioner had to flee from the battle field. Under Awami League administration there had been minor irregularities in the election but the open manipulation of votes like Magura never happened anywhere.

According to this friend of Gazipur both sides took part in small scale fake voting. It did not have any impact on the election and it was an unnecessary exercise. Jahangir Alam could have achieved a land slide victory without these votes and he achieved it. Though it was a City Corporation election, the whole country attached great importance to this because they thought before a general election Gazipur would be an indicator to what would happen in the countrywide general election which would determine the future of the country. Because in the absence of an alternative Democratic Party or group in the country the next election will be fought like 71's war between the pro-independence and anti-independence parties.

The present 20 party alliance under BNP is nothing but the offshoot of the pro-Pakistani coalition of 71. On the other hand, Awami League, whatever its success or failure, is still holding on to the legacy of the war of independence. Unless there is a healthy and democratic alternative to Awami League in Bangladesh, its defeat will make the country weak and subservient to certain foreign powers. Its present economic progress will be halted and the ideals of democracy and secularism will be crucified.

That is why the general election in December this year has become so important to the nation and Gazipur also became important as its result would indicate what would happen in the next upcoming elections. The result of Gazipur election will encourage the patriotic people of Bangladesh to be hopeful for the future. They hope that the next City Corporation election will follow Gazipur election result and also make it possible for the democratic Moha-Jote to win the general election.

There are sceptics who think that after the Gazipur election BNP will not participate in the next three City Corporation elections in Barisal, Rajshahi and Sylhet. Before Gazipur election the BNP leader Barrister Maudud Ahmed gave an indication about this. He referred to his fear that there will be foul play in Gazipur and warned if that happened his party will think about participating in the next three City Corporation elections. He also threatened Awami League of dire consequences if BNP candidate lost the Gazipur contest. Thank God that his threat has proved to be the sound of an empty vessel like his previous utterances and it has also come to light that in spite of Gazipur defeat BNP will join the elections of the other three cities. Otherwise, the party’s rank and files may revolt.

My firm belief is that all the conspiracies against the holding of the general election in December will not succeed. BNP, whether its leader is in or out of the prison will participate in the general election. If they do not join their political future would be in question. And if they join, which I presume they will, they may not go to power immediately but pave the way to their ascendency to power in the future. In the mean time they may form a most strong and effective opposition in the parliament.

London, Thursday 28 June, 2018