Dhaka, December 30 (BDNews24.com/newsin.asia): Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Awami League (ML) look set for a landslide victory in the 11 th national parliamentary election held on Sunday
The ruling party won 99 seats followed by its key ally the Jatiya Party at 17, according to results announced until 11:30pm on Sunday.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), a key component in the opposition alliance, has suffered a massive rout with two seats.
An observer said that the results of the 2018 election are similar to the one in December 1970, when Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founder of Bangladesh and the father of Sheikh Hasina, was the head of the Awami League. In that election,, the Awami League won 298 of the 310 seats in the East Pakistan Provincial Assembly and 160 seats in the national legislature.
When the government of Pakistan did not recognize the election result, an anti-Pakistan liberation struggle started in East Pakistan which ended in the creation of Bangladesh in December 1971.
Early indications of the massive margin of the victory for the Awami League could be seen in the race contested by Bangladesh’s Prime Minister for the Gopalganj-3 seat.
According to the official results announced by Election Commission Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed, Hasina received 229,529 votes from the 246,514 voters in the constituency.
The “paddy sheaf” (BNP) candidate for the Gopalganj-3 set was S.M. Zilani, who received only 123 votes.
The turnout at Gopalganj for the race was 93 per cent, the EC secretary said.
Meanwhile, the Jatiya Oikya Front has rejected the election results and called upon the Election Commission to hold new elections under a neutral government. Jatiya Oikya Front (JOF) chief Dr. Kamal Hossain called the polls a ‘farce’ and demanded a fresh vote citing widespread polling frauds.
Sixteen people had died in election day violence and some opposition candidate withdrew from the contest.
Alliance chief Kamal Hossain said that the group had received similar reports of voter frauds from nearly all centers in the country.
“You must cancel this election right away,” Kamal asked the EC.
“We reject the results and demand a new election under a neutral government.”
Dr Kamal Hossain and other leaders of the Jatiya Oikya Front alliance speaking at a press conference in Dhaka on Sunday after daylong voting amid deadly violence. Alleging widespread rigging, the Oikya Front has demanded fresh elections.
At least 31 candidates running independently or as candidates from the BNP, Jamaat-e-Islami or Jatiya Oikya Front had pulled out of the race midway.
Asked what steps he would take if his demands were not met, Kamal Hossain said: “We will sit tomorrow and discuss in detail what to do. We will continue our movement to institute democracy. We will provide further details at a later time.”
Asked what he would do if the Oikya Front won the polls, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said: “We are boycotting the entire election. This is not an election. This is a cruel mockery of democracy.”
“We will inform you of our decision tomorrow,” he added.
“Many people believe we were wrong to boycott the polls on Jan 5, 2014,” he said. “But today proves us right.”
Bangladesh went to the polls between 8 am and 4pm on Sunday.
At least 16 people were killed in election violence in 11 districts across the country.
Voting was suspended at 22 polling centers.
(The featured picture at the top shows Sheikh Hasina showing the victory sign after voting in Dhaka)