More AL sympathisers may quit polls


Special Correspondent :
Sensing the risk of one-sided 12th parliamentary polls, Awami League (AL) sympathiser Jatiya Party (JaPa), which is a major buttress of the ruling quarters, is likely to withdraw from the race in the last minute of the election.

JaPa leaders said they will be in the election until the last hours but anything may happen anytime.

As the election hours are very fluid, the nation will have to wait till the last moment of election.

With the drawing of the hours of the polling day, some political parties, which are coddled by AL, are likely to quit from the election race.

Most of the western countries were busy in Bangladesh last year, holding meetings with several political parties including the ruling party to ensure that national polls in Bangladesh become participatory, free and fair.

Meanwhile, a western country’s embassy in Bangladesh writes to their headquarters regarding the present scenario of Bangladesh centering 12th parliamentary elections.

According to the media reports regarding the embassy report it mentioned that a growing number of AL candidates are themselves unhappy they must compete with these dummy candidates, especially as the grassroots AL activists are increasingly rallying behind the independents rather than the official candidates.

The report also stated that the JaPa, whose chairman GM Quader faced intense pressure from powerful quarters to participate in the elections, eventually reached an agreement with AL, obtaining 25 seats. However, these seats are also expected to be challenged by dummy candidates close to the ruling party.

Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque candidly admitted that the main opposition BNP had turned down a proposal by the government to release thousands of detained leaders in exchange for joining the elections, the report added.

However, violence is not being perpetrated exclusively by law enforcers. Activists on both sides of the political aisle regularly use force as a demonstration of strength.

On 19 December, a Dhaka-bound train was set on fire, killing four passengers, including a mother and her three-year-old son.

The embassy report also mentioned that over 20,000 opposition leaders and activists of BNP are still detained in severely overcrowded prisons, including BNP Secretary General Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and standing committee member Chowdhury…given the limited success of BNPs strategy in the past, it is doubtful whether this latest series of protests will yield any meaningful results.


Meanwhile, Chairman of JaPa GM Quader on Monday commented that time will say whether the Jatiya Party will in the 12th National election’s race or not.

Though the ruling Awami League reached an agreement on 26 seats with Jatiya Party, the main opposition party in the parliament, fielded candidates in almost all the seats in the country.

However, Jatiya Party candidates are not much discussed in most places. Just a week before the polls, Jatiya Party candidates withdrew from the election in five constituencies in one day. Among them, two candidates were contesting in two seats each.

When asked about the matter, GM Quader said that many candidates may not stay till the end of the election, some make formal announcements and some do not. Some of them have already left from the race and he instructed the party candidates those who want to contest in the 12th parliamentary election can do so.

“If you don’t want to contest, you have the freedom to decide that too,” he said while talking to reporters in court areas in Rangpur.

When asked about the reason for the withdrawal of candidature, GM Quader said, the withdrawal of candidature may be due to threats or it may also be due to lack of money.

“Some candidates are not rich, so they withdrew from elections because of the fund crisis. However, the voters of that seat do not see it well after participating in the election.

Withdrawal from the election sends a message that the candidates have withdrawn due to someone else’s instigation or support or coercion or fear.

Which is not good news for politics,” he said in reply to a query.

In response to a query whether Jatiya Party will be in the election last hour, GM Quader replied, “Only time will tell whether I will stay till the end of the election or not. Wait until then.”

According to party leaders, the party says its entire leadership, along with thousands of activists, have been arrested over the past five weeks in “an unprecedented crackdown,” following a massive BNP rally in the capital, Dhaka, on October 28.