City, Municipality Polls primarily a success
Thursday, 07 August 2008

Election under CG

The polls to four city corporations and nine pourasabhas were held peacefully marking the completion of the first phase of the electoral process under this government. The most important aspect of these is that after a long time the voters turned up in huge number enthusiastically and were able to exercise their voting rights in an ambience free from fear, threat and intimidation. In view of this, the people are the ultimate victorious in these elections while credit of holding peaceful elections is claimed by the government and the Election Commission and glory of winning them goes to triumphant candidates of whom all but one are backed by Awami League. On Monday elections were held under emergency rule in Khulna, Rajshahi, Barisal and Sylhet city corporations and Naoahata, Dupchachia, Chuadanga, Sripur Manikganj, Phulbaria Shariatpur, Golapganj and Sitakundu. Almost everywhere the main contest took place between AL and BNP, but candidates backed by AL were elected except in Dupchachia porasabha where the BNP-backed candidate came out victorious. These elections were supposed to be held on non-political basis, but these ultimately became political following a recent High Court ruling declaring the ban on participation in them under political banner illegal. However, although the candidates had initially joined the electoral race on individual capacity their political identities were well known to the people of the respective areas.  As all the candidates elected or placed in the second position, except one, are from AL and BNP there is hardly any doubt that people are still largely behind these two parties despite the Emergency government's alleged bid to discredit these two organizations and force their leaders Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia out of the political arena. Election results of four city corporations and nine pourasabhas may not be sufficient enough to reflect the public opinion of the whole country of 150 million people, but the trend can adequately indicat that the two former prime ministers and their parties are going to dominate the national politics for some more years to come regardless of what the Emergency government and its loyal EC do think or want. The results of these elections are also likely to influence the future course of politics in the country. Massive public enthusiasm and festivity were witnessed during the month-long election campaign as any sort of election in this country is traditionally treated as a festival. This displyed deep interest of the people as well as the activists of political parties in the local elections The city corporation and pourasabha elections were generally seen as an acid test for all concerned- the Government, the EC, the candidates, the political parties, the voters and the law enforcers. It may be said that all of them have scored a success in this crucial test as the elections were peaceful marking progress in the efforts for strengthening democracy at the grassroots level.

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