With the election victory, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina secured a third consecutive term in office and fourth overall
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Bangladesh Awami League registered a landslide victory in the general elections on December 31.
With this win, Hasina secured a third consecutive term in office and fourth overall.
According to reports, Hasina’s Awami League-led coalition won more than 260 seats in the 300-member Jatiya Sangsad (House of the Nation), improving its tally of 234 from the outgoing House. The official result was not declared by the Election Commission (EC) at the time of publishing.
The poll panel confirmed that Hasina won her Gopalganj-3 seat bagging over 2.29 lakh votes, while her Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) opponent got only 123 votes.
National politics in Bangladesh has been largely dominated by two parties -- the ruling Awami League and the BNP. The two parties lead the Grand Alliance and the Jatiya Oikya Front (JOF), respectively.
BNP, the main Opposition party, was facing a stiff challenge within as its chairperson and former prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia is serving a five-year jail term in two corruption cases and is ineligible to contest the polls. Zia's son and acting party Chief Tarique Rahman is in London, possibly evading arrest, reports suggest.
Some reports suggest that the Grand Alliance-led by the Awami league won as many as 288 seats.
The opposition alliance won less than 10 seats. BNP and the Gano Forum won five and two seats, respectively. As many as 11 of BNP’s allies failed to win a single seat, reports suggest.
The remaining four seats were won by Independents.
Voting took place in 299 out of the 300 seats from 8.00 am to 4.00 pm on December 30.
While the total number of eligible voters was 10.4 crore, no figures for the turnouts was issued until December 31 morning. Reports suggest that the turnout was sparse.
Claims of rigging
The results were announced amid claims of rigging being made by opposition parties.
"We reject the results and demand a new election under a neutral government," NUF convenor and veteran lawyer Kamal Hossain, who heads the Gano Forum party, told reporters after early results suggested a win for AL-led Grand Alliance.
"We ask that you cancel this election right away," Hossain urged the EC, claiming, "we have reports that fraudulence took place in almost all centres".
Hasina and her government have been accused of concerted persecution of its political opponents by critics and human rights organisations.
Polling day violence
At least 17 people, including a member of a security agency, were killed in eight districts and several others were injured in election-related violence.
Reports suggest most of the dead were ruling party activists, while others were workers of opposition BNP or its allies.
Citing security reasons, authorities had temporarily blocked mobile data services and slowed down the internet.
What happened in 2014
In 2014, the elections were boycotted by the BNP and many other opposition parties giving Hasina's Awami League a walkover. Awami League retained control of Parliament by winning 234 out of the 300 seats at the time.
The elections were marred by widespread violence.
What it means for India
Bangladesh and India share a 4,000-km long border that has been marred by ethnic conflicts. Its location is strategically important for India, and China has time and again tried to woo Dhaka. Overall, Bangladesh is a key component of India's "Look East" policy.
Under Hasina's regime, New Delhi has seen improved bilateral ties and boundary disputes have been settled amicably, while strong security cooperation has been established and significant progress has been made in settling differences over the Teesta River water sharing.
Bilateral trade and India's investment in Bangladesh has also picked up.
The victory strengthens Hasina’s grip over power in the South Asian country.(With inputs from PTI)