POST TIME: 9 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Electoral politics : Gazipur and Bangladesh
The holding of GCC election in a relatively peaceful manner in the backdrop of conspiracy to create adverse law and order situation could be viewed as a success of the present government’s democratic commitment
Prof. Dr. Arun Kumar Goswami

Electoral politics : Gazipur and Bangladesh

After the huge political actions and reactions surrounding the election of Gazipur City Corporation (GCC), now theoretically and empirically, the inevitable destination of present “Raajneeti” is nowhere but whole Bangladesh. As per the results from 416 centres out of the 425 polling stations in 57 wards in Gazipur city, Awami League (AL) candidate Jahangir Alam bagged a total of 400,010 votes, while his rival Hasan Uddin Sarker of BNP could only manage to get 197,611 votes. The AL’s huge victory in the Gazipur city poll came after a similar win in Khulna. Even though, these are all local level elections, however, for various reasons, some relevant questions have emerged, what were the causes of Awami League candidates’ victory in the city elections of Khulna and Gazipur? Nevertheless, there may be one more question, ‘what would be the impact of these local level electoral results on the up-coming elections for other city corporations as well as for the 11th Jatiyo Sangsad?’ There are two dimensions of answers to the first question. One is ‘internal’ and another is ‘external’. Internally, the party which led the great war of Bangladesh’s liberation had been united during the election of GCC. As a result the voters of Gazipur, most of who are the traditional supporters of AL, were very happy to cast vote for historical symbol Boat (Nouka).  Besides, compared to his rival BNP’s Hasan Uddin Sarkar, the mayoral candidate of AL, Jahangir Alam, is of young age. The young AL candidate helps him to understand the minds of not only the young voters but also help him act accordingly. On the other hand, externally, people’s development expectation could not be met by Mr. Hasan Uddin Sarkar. Local people are also aware about his past activities. On the whole, people’s development expectation has also contributed to the victory of Jahangir Alam. As usual, the defeated candidates in both elections of Khulna and Gazipur have raised the allegations of widespread irregularities and vote rigging.  

GCC is the country's largest city corporation, comprising parts of Gazipur-1, 2 and 5 parliamentary constituencies. Gazipur-1 was bagged by the BNP once in 1991 parliamentary polls, but after that it was always held by the AL. In Gazipur-2 and 5, the AL has never lost the national polls. The holding of GCC election in a peaceful manner, in the backdrop of conspiracy to create law and order situation, could be viewed as the massive recognition of present government’s democratic commitment.

The situation in Gazipur during the city corporation election was very wonderful. There were no fears regarding voting. There have been no incidents of violence and disorder.  

The usual violence against minority community during the election time was also absent in GCC election.

Almost 27 TV channels and other media have published the events of GCC elections but none of them have been able to show the evidence of gross violations of electoral rules and procedures by any quarters. It has been learnt from the sources that irregularities have been detected only in nine, out of 425 centres. The EC has taken necessary legal steps for these centres. Prime Minister’s political adviser HT Imam said that the BNP was trying to make the EC controversial. However, the law enforcers have performed efficiently to foil the conspiracy. They have arrested a BNP leader, who is a retired army officer from his Gulshan residence on the basis of evidence. Two separate voice records of two BNP leaders with their two supporters have become viral on the social communication media, facebook, as well as on other electronic and print media. In these voice records the BNP leaders were talking over mobile phone to two persons of Gazipur.

At this point it may be pertinent to mention about a small scene of the Bollywood film Rajneeti. The story of the film is based on the narratives of ancient epic the Mahabharata. In that film the conspiracy to capture ‘power’ has been depicted in a different perspective and different time, but it can provide some food for thought regarding the conspiracy in GCC election.

The GCC election has become the talk of the country and its possible impact in the upcoming elections cannot be ignored.  In the meantime, the schedules for elections to Rajshahi, Barisal and Sylhet city corporations have also been announced. However, political observers found voting in Gazipur very much crucial ahead of the three other city polls on July 30 and the parliamentary polls in December, 2018. Now, concerned people are busy assessing its probable impact upon the upcoming national elections for 11th Jatiyo Sangsad. Nevertheless, the Rajneeti that was moving around GCC election, now vow to cover the politics of other places including the upcoming national election, scheduled to be held in December 2018.   It is expected, that the “factors” those were found behind the holding of GCC election, would also be actively present in the Rajneeti on the election for the eleventh Jatiyo Sangsad.

There is no denying the fact that, since the overwhelming electoral victory of Awami League in decisive and historical election of 1970, the opposition or anti-liberation forces of 1971 “always” behave in this way.  

These are the behavioural pattern of opposition party is harmful for the ongoing democratic environment. Many people do not agree to recognize it as ‘democratic’.

Even though they are passing their comments and observations freely, in the environment, which is obviously democratic.  And if you are not ready to term it as democratic then ‘how we people are seeing and knowing all things   in the media?” Sometimes, the tempo of the arguments surpass national boundary and without being aware about their behavioural legality and validity one or two foreign diplomats started pouring instructive or vindictive statements.  

Even though, they are supposed to ‘oil their own machine’, they sometime forget about their own country’s problems. But, these are the facts about democracy, which you have to face, rather boldly and tactfully, keeping in mind the interest of the country. People’s judgement on Rajneeti in the elections for GCC, speak something if not many thong about past and present and throw some light on the future of Bangladesh politics.

The writer is Director, South Asian Study Circle, Jagannath University, Dhaka