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Reflections on controversial poll

Many Bangladeshis apathetic to parliamentary vote marked by violent run-up and marred by opposition boycott.

Last updated: 05 Jan 2014 17:15
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Sunday's parliamentary elections were boycotted by the main opposition party and its allies [Reuters]

Violence marred Sunday's controversial general elections in Bangladesh, causing several deaths in clashes between opposition supporters and police. The outcome of the contest is not in doubt, as the poll was only contested in 147 of the 300 parliamentary seats up for grabs.

With the opposition BNP party and its allies boycotting the poll, governing Awami League candidates or allies have a clear run in the remaining 153 seats.

Sheikh Hasina Wajed's government amended the constitution in 2010 and decided to hold elections under an all-party government. BNP leader Khaleda Zia argued that such a government would in effect be headed by the governing party, which would undermine the fairness of the process. The government say it had to hold the vote after parliament's five-year term expired, but the BNP says it is a joke.

Here are some views of Bangladeshis on Sunday's election:

Nahian Asadullah, 29, Dhaka
I think we have anarchy. The government is not a recognised authority and there is mess. Hence, this poll is not legititmate.

Tanjima Ali, 25, Dhaka
No, I have not voted. Dhaka's Mohammadpur area has only one candidate and thus voting is not required.

Rakha Zabin Ophelia, 24, Dhaka
No, I haven't voted. Actually I don't need to vote because I am a voter of Gulshan [a Dhaka sububr] and in Gulshan there is only one candidate. HM Ershad [Jatiya Party head] is the only candidate and he has already won as he does not have any competitor.

Mustak Ahmed, 30, Rangpur
Who will I vote [for]? I am not interested. I am a voter of Mymensingh but I won't go and vote. I wouldn't even vote even if there were no hartals [shutdowns].

Akram M 30, Shahjahanpur, Dhaka
I am not voting because [Workers' Party leader and Telecommunications Minister] Rashed Khan Menon has been "elected" without a single vote. In my opinion, the whole thing is a joke.

Mushtafiqur Raihan, 35, Jessore
I am currently in Jessore but I am a voter of Kushtia in Rangpur. If there had been no hartals and the public had security, I would have more options, and I would have travelled to cast my vote amid others. That way I would have felt safer.

Tanzina Khan, 27, Tejgaon, Dhaka
We don't need to vote here. We have selection, not election. The selection has been done already like many other places. The last time, people went to vote but this time no one cares. Ninety percent of people I know won't go to vote. No one because they keep voting for autocracy, so what's the point? Things will only get messier.

Mahdin Mahboob, 28, Tejgaon, Dhaka
I have never felt so relieved in my whole life. Previously we used to blame ourselves for voting a bad and corrupt government into power. No longer do I, like most other people in the country, have to feel guilty any more since we had nothing to do with those elections.

491

Source:
Al Jazeera
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