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Bangladesh - January 6, 2024

BNP anticipating western action after the polls

Diplomatic activity intensified

Diplomatic Correspondent : Despite carrying out various programs for a continuous year, the movement of BNP has not yet achieved final success. Considering the reality in such a situation, the party withdrew at the last moment from a strict position on the question of ‘preventing the vote’; Instead, from a flexible position, it has carried out a nationwide campaign for two weeks to discourage and divert the general public from voting. At this stage, the party wants to rely on the West.
The high command of the BNP, which has been out of power for a long time, thinks that the vote to be held late at night is actually a farce. Therefore, this election will not be accepted by the western countries in any way. Although the government and the Election Commission have repeatedly emphasized to make this election free and acceptable.
BNP does not want to give any other party an opportunity to create violence around this program even though it called a two-day hartal before the polls to boycott the polls. Therefore, the party has already given strict instructions to the grassroots leaders and activists not to get involved in any kind of conflict on the polling day. BNP thinks that it is very clear to the people what kind of election is being conducted this time. As a result, people will largely respond to BNP’s boycott call. If the government and the ruling party do not force, the vote will be less than 5 percent in this election. In that case, even if the election is held, it will be ‘questionable’.
BNP leaders say that for more than a year and a half, the Western world, including the United States, has continued to pressure the government to demand a fair, acceptable and participatory election in Bangladesh. As part of this, the US has already implemented a visa policy. In such a situation, a ‘voterless, questionable’ election will not be acceptable to the international world including the West. Because, foreigners are aware of the fact that the government is voting with dummy-independent candidates to make the elections without BNP appear participatory. Apart from that, the western countries that speak for democracy are also trying to see Bangladesh differently for the first time. Hence, after the election drama, the US may strictly enforce the visa policy and phase in various restrictions. That is why it has been decided to continue the program after the election. The leaders say that if any other measures including bans come after the polls, efforts will be made to suppress the government through strict agitation, so that the demands can be met. Therefore, related sources claim that the opposition parties including BNP are expecting various steps from the western world after the election.
Many political analysts feel that if the BNP can create pressure with the West on the issue of an acceptable and participatory election, the government may be flexible after the vote. For that reason, the party has also increased its diplomatic activities along with the peaceful movement around the polls. As part of this, a letter has been sent to various embassies in Dhaka including the United Nations. The seven-page emailed letter blames the government for recent incidents of arson and vandalism. The party claims that the responsibility is being placed on the BNP by causing various incidents with the support of the government to destroy the ongoing movement involving the people. BNP believes that the countrymen and the international community are aware of who actually committed these acts of arson and vandalism.
Meanwhile, BNP held a meeting with the United States election observation team last Sunday. Members of the country’s National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI) have been staying in Dhaka for several months to assess the pre-election situation in Bangladesh. It is known that in that meeting, the BNP informed the United States election observation team about the reason for the election boycott, the election environment and the ongoing movement. Apart from this, BNP also held a meeting with the visiting Commonwealth election observation team on Friday. The BNP delegation was led by the member of the standing committee Abdul Moin Khanin this meeting held through virtual means. On the other hand, the Commonwealth Election Observation Team was led by Team Leader Jamaica’s former Prime Minister Orett Bruce Golding. It is known that in the meeting, the BNP called the January 7 election as ‘one-sided’ and the reason for the boycott and the process and how the election is going to be conducted to make the election appear participatory.
However, the party’s co-international affairs secretary, Barrister Rumin Farhana, has rejected the issue of BNP’s dependence on foreign countries after the successful movement of one party. He said that BNP is agitating with the people’s demands and relying on the people. So, BNP has to realize this demand. Of course, wherever the voice of democracy comes from, it strengthens our moral position. But we never expect anyone to fight for us in Bangladesh – we are fighting ourselves. In this struggle, our leaders and activists are being disappeared and killed, and are being attacked and prosecuted. But it is true, the international world including the West has been demanding a free, fair, acceptable and participatory election in Bangladesh for a long time. Because, they think, there is no human rights, no democracy in Bangladesh. Suppression of opposition parties continues. Various international organizations have also highlighted it through statements at various times.
He also said, we saw in 2014 and 2018, the international community looked at Bangladesh through the eyes of India. We are seeing for the first time, Western countries, who speak for democracy, are looking at Bangladesh differently and they think Bangladesh can be an excellent ‘test case’ for establishing democracy. There was democracy in this country, the people of this country are democratic. They want to speak, elect their representatives by voting in a festive atmosphere. In that place we see, the western world is very vocal. The support that this government got in 2014 and 2018 is not there this time.
Member of the standing committee of the party Abdul Moin Khan said, this government should understand that 2024 and 2014 are not the same. If the government thinks that a rigged vote will secure another five-year term, it will never happen. Not only the people of the country, but also the international and democratic world are aware of what is happening around the January 7 elections. So Awami League will not be able to stay in power this time by choosing a farce. Such an election will not be acceptable to the international world.
He also said, we have said that a change should be brought in this country through a free and fair election. We want the people of Bangladesh to bring change in this country through peaceful, orderly and democratic movement and re-establish democracy.

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