India endorses B'desh polls

India endorses B'desh polls

Notwithstanding the boycott of the main opposition, widespread violence and low turn out in Bangladesh elections; India has virtually endorsed the poll process in the country.

“Elections in Bangladesh on January 5 were a constitutional requirement. They are a part of the internal and constitutional process of Bangladesh,” official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Syed Akbaruddin, said in New Delhi on Monday. 

The ruling Awami League, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and its allies swept the elections. The Awami League itself won 104 of the 147 seats for which polling was held on Sunday. The party had already won 127 seats uncontested and thus it now has 231 seats in the country’s parliament, Jatiya Sangsad.

The opposition Bangladesh National Party and its allies boycotted the much-disputed elections, which took place amid widespread violence across the country, largely by the activists of the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami party, which was outlawed by Sheikh Hasina’s Government last year.

“Violence cannot and should not determine the way forward. The democratic processes must be allowed to take their own course in Bangladesh,” said Akbaruddin.

Nearly 30 people were killed in violence across Bangladesh since Saturday and activists of opposition BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami torched over 200 polling stations to disrupt the polls.

India’s relations with Bangladesh significantly improved after Sheikh Hasina took office in early 2009. Tacit cooperation between her government in Dhaka and security agencies of New Delhi ensured that most of the top leaders of the insurgent outfits in northeastern Indian States, who had taken refuge in Bangladesh, ended up in the custody of the security forces of India, setting the stage for peace-talks with some of them.

The BNP and its allies had demanded that Sheikh Hasina should step down paving the way for a caretaker government, which would remain in the office during the elections. Its demand was rejected, but Hasina constituted an interim Government a few months before the polls and remained in the prime minister’s office.

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