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Bangladesh general election underway with main Opposition boycotting polls, PM Hasina casts vote

Bangladesh general elections are underway amid incidents of pre-poll violence in the past few days. The elections are taking place under the observation of the UN, and Indian officials. The country's main Opposition leader is boycotting the polls.

Shashwat Bhandari Edited By: Shashwat Bhandari @ShashBhandari New Delhi Updated on: January 07, 2024 10:45 IST
Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina
Image Source : AP Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina

Bangladesh Elections 2024: General elections in Bangladesh are currently underway amid isolated incidents of pre-poll violence and boycotting of elections by key opposition leaders. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is expected to win a fourth straight term in the absence of the main Opposition BNP, has cast her vote. The opposition began a 48-hour nationwide strike against the "illegal government" amidst sporadic violence. The polling will be held in 300 constituencies across the country. Bangladesh election commission has said that it has nearly completed poll preparations.

  • A total of 119.6 million (11.96 crore) registered voters are eligible to vote at Sunday's polls in more than 42,000 polling stations, according to the country’s Election Commission.
  • More than 1,500 candidates from 27 political parties are contesting in the election besides 436 independent candidates.
  • Over 100 foreign observers, including three from India, will monitor the 12th general election, which is being held under tight security.
  • "We want our general elections to be observed not only nationally but internationally as well. Bangladesh is a member of the UN and also a signatory in different international instruments like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights)," Bangladesh Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal said.
  • The election commission said voting will start at 8 am and will end at 5 pm. The results are expected to start flowing from early on January 8.
  • Prime Minister Hasina's ruling Awami League is expected to win for a straight fourth time as the main Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of former premier Khaleda Zia, 78, who is under house arrest as a convict of graft charges, boycotted the polls.
  • Hasina, 76, in a nationally televised address this week has urged the pro-democratic and law-abiding parties not to fuel ideas that “disrupt" the country's constitutional process. The BNP has called for a 48-hour nationwide general strike which began at 6 am and will end at 6 am on Monday.
  • The number of vehicles on the street is fewer compared to other days, but despite fear of arson attacks, public vehicles were plying the streets.
  • The 27 political parties that are contesting the elections include the opposition Jatiya Party (JAPA). The rest are members of the ruling Awami League-led coalition, which experts dub as "satellite parties."
  • Ahead of the elections, Hasina's government arrested tens of thousands of rival politicians and supporters, a move which rights groups have condemned as an attempt to paralyse the Opposition.
  • Prime Minister Hasina said the Awami League, whenever it came to power, ensured the economic and social development of the people of the country.
  • Authorities deployed Army troops across the country two days ago "in aid of civil administration" to maintain peace and order during the voting.
  • Despite the strict security arrangements, unidentified people carried homemade bomb and arson attacks in empty polling centres in four out of 64 administrative districts, while BNP activists clashed with police in another district, leaving five people wounded on Friday.
  • At least 14 arson attacks were reported in 16 hours till 9:30 am Saturday, according to Fire Service statistics.
  • At least four people were killed when a passenger train was torched by arsonists near Dhaka on Friday night. The BNP has demanded a UN-supervised investigation into the incident which it described as a "pre-planned" act of sabotage.

With inputs from PTI

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