Hasina’s Betrayal: A Dark Day for Bangladesh’s Democratic Principles

The voter turnout, initially reported at a mere 27.15 per cent at 3:00 pm, saw a sudden and suspicious jump to an estimated 40 per cent after voting closed at 4:00 pm.

3 mins read
Illustration: The New Age, Bangladesh

Editorial

Ah, bravo, Sheikh Hasina! What an extraordinary achievement in turning Bangladesh into a shining example of democratic decay. The recent election, a spectacle of controversy, low voter turnout, and dubious tactics, has indeed solidified her position as the unrivalled ruler and guardian of democracy’s demise. Securing a record fourth consecutive term in a manner reminiscent of historically oppressive regimes is truly a testament to her commitment to upholding the values that Bangladesh fought so hard for. This long-serving Prime Minister’s eloquent declaration that “Democracy is an obstacle to development” is a stroke of brilliance, echoing the sentiments of leaders who have steered nations towards prosperity through the scenic route of autocracy. It’s heartening to witness her, the daughter of Bangladesh’s founding father, boldly steer the ship away from the ideals upon which the nation was built. The second-lowest voter turnout since 1991 is a mere testament to the overwhelming support and enthusiasm her government enjoys. The sudden jump in voter turnout after polls closed is nothing but a miraculous display of democratic fervour, akin to a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Prime Minister’s strategic seat-sharing arrangements, questionable alliances, and the withdrawal of candidates citing “widespread vote rigging” showcase a masterful manipulation of the electoral process. The reports of violence, fatalities, and the suspicious death of an assistant presiding officer are just charming little anecdotes in the grand story of her democratic triumph. Oh, Sheikh Hasina, your victory is truly a beacon of hope for leaders worldwide who aspire to redefine democracy in their own unique image. May your reign be as enduring as the principles you so skillfully discard. Congratulations on becoming the Longest Ruler in Bangladesh – a title that undoubtedly carries the weight of a nation’s once cherished democratic ideals.

***

Let’s address the issue on a serious note, as this emerging wonderful young nation once gave all of us shining hope for true freedom.

The recent election in Bangladesh marked a disheartening moment in the nation’s history, as Sheikh Hasina, the leader of the Awami League, secured a record fourth consecutive term in an election marred by controversy, low voter turnout, and allegations of foul play. The parallels drawn between Hasina’s actions and the oppressive strategies employed by Pakistan’s ruling party in the past are alarming, raising concerns about the erosion of democratic values in a country that fought hard for its independence. 

In a shocking revelation, Hasina declared during a press conference on Election Day that “Democracy is an obstacle to development.” This statement not only undermines the very essence of democratic principles but also sends shivers down the spine of those who hoped for a government committed to upholding the rights and voices of its citizens.

It is particularly disheartening to witness Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of Bangladesh’s founding father, betray her father’s legacy and the ideals upon which the nation was built. The election results, characterized by the second-lowest voter turnout since the restoration of democracy in 1991, raise serious questions about the legitimacy of the electoral process.

The voter turnout, initially reported at a mere 27.15 per cent at 3:00 pm, saw a sudden and suspicious jump to an estimated 40 per cent after voting closed at 4:00 pm. Such anomalies fuel concerns about the fairness and transparency of the election, reminiscent of the controversial polls in February 1996, which had the lowest turnout in Bangladesh’s history.

Sheikh Hasina’s strategy to secure her victory included a questionable seat-sharing arrangement with Jatiya Party and other allies. Furthermore, her party’s decision to allow numerous party leaders and activists to run as independent candidates raised doubts about the competitiveness and authenticity of the electoral process.

The withdrawal of 11 Jatiya Party candidates within hours of voting, citing widespread vote rigging, further highlights the dubious nature of the election. The lack of interest among voters, witnessed by a thin presence at polling centres across the country, paints a grim picture of citizens losing faith in the democratic process.

Reports of violence, one fatality in Munshiganj, and the suspicious death of an assistant presiding officer in Gazipur only add to the growing concerns about the legitimacy of the election. Ruling party supporters’ interference at polling centres and the suspension of voting in seven polling stations due to irregularities further tarnish the credibility of the electoral process.

The international community’s response to these events is eagerly awaited. However, the fact that a few foreign observers lauded the election process does not negate the need for a thorough investigation into the alleged irregularities and manipulation.

Bangladesh, a country that fought for its independence against oppressive forces, now faces the ominous prospect of a leader openly expressing disdain for democracy. Sheikh Hasina’s victory, achieved through questionable tactics and at the cost of democratic principles, raises concerns about the future of Bangladesh under her rule. God save Bangladesh from this betrayal of its hard-fought freedom.

Sri Lanka Guardian

The Sri Lanka Guardian is an online web portal founded in August 2007 by a group of concerned Sri Lankan citizens including journalists, activists, academics and retired civil servants. We are independent and non-profit. Email: editor@slguardian.org

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog