Congratulations to Sheikh Hasina:
Bangladesh is set for a government with the biggest parliamentary majority since 1973, following Monday’s general elections designed to bring an end to two years of military-backed rule.
In an election marked by high turnout and few incidents, the centre-left Awami League – headed by former prime minister Sheikh Hasina – and its allies pulled off a stunning victory, winning a two-thirds majority in the single-chamber national assembly.
This is how she did it:
It is clearly a robust expression of people’s will,” said Mahfuz Anam, editor of the Daily Star newspaper.
“First-time voters made up nearly a third of the total, and these young voters rejected the BNP’s negative campaign based on religion and fear.”
And, oh dear, look who lost big:
Fundamentalist Jamat-e-Islami (JI), a crucial ally of former premier Khaleda Zia’s BNP-led four-party alliance, on Tuesday suffered a drubbing with all party stalwarts biting the dust in the general elections.
JI, which opposed the Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war and sided with the Pakistani troops, won only two seats in the 300-member parliament compared to 20 in the last polls in 2001, while its chief Motiur Rahman Nizami and secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid conceded defeat.
“The anti-liberation forces have been defeated once again, this time through peoples’ verdict,” the Daily Star commented in a report titled ‘Jamaat in jeopardy’.
“While it is a sweet revenge for Bangladeshis against the war criminals, the verdict will make stronger the demand for their trial.”
Most political analysts attributed JI’s debacle on the intensified campaign for the trial of 1971 war criminals’ launched by the Sector Commanders Forum, a grouping of veterans of the Liberation War, backed by India, as the country celebrated its 37th victory anniversary ahead of the polls on December 16.
Analysts said the campaign particularly influenced the young voters, 33 per cent of whom voting for the first time, as they spread the campaign for the trial of 1971 war criminals through cell phone messages and internets.
Nizami and Mojahid led the so-called elite Al-Badr forces in 1971 while the Gestapo like outfit is widely believed to have killed frontline intellectuals after abducting them in an effort to cripple the emerging nation intellectually just two days ahead of their defeat on December 16 in 1971.
The Jamaat-e-Islami controlled East London Mosque will be a rather gloomy place today.
And I expect that the anti-Muslim bigots will be at a loss to explain how this happened.