Bangladesh’s 30 December 2018 elections that brought an equally historic win for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is my only guardian as well as the children of the martyrs, saw the world leaders and media greeted her with some requesting her to probe some reported irregularities. But, the leaderless and rudderless main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) refuses to accept all those wishes and observer reports and continues sing the same old song day after day.
British newspapers, The Independent and the Times of London, Al Jazeera, which has always been a relentless critic of Sheikh Hasina and many more across the globe have put themselves on record in praising the country for taking into new heights as far as development and economy were concerned.
Indian newspapers have lauded the prime minister and that is very significant as it is not only our neighbour, but one of the major world powers.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the first global leader to congratulate Hasina on her re-election by telephoning her, which bears huge significance in international and regional politics.
“We welcome the successful completion of the parliamentary elections in Bangladesh. India warmly congratulates the people of Bangladesh for reaffirming their faith in democracy, development, and the vision of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,” read the press release.
Modi expressed his confidence that the partnership between India and Bangladesh will continue to flourish under “Sheikh Hasina’s far-sighted leadership.”
“[Modi] also reiterated the priority India attaches to Bangladesh as a neighbour, a close partner for regional development, security and cooperation, and a central pillar in India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy,” it read.
Once which was thought to be BNP’s bastion with its use of Islam as a political weapon—the Islamic world—too lend its support to Sheikh Hasina’s newly elected government. The Saudi King, UAE ruler and other leaders of the Muslim world also congratulated the premier “on securing absolute majority in the 11th parliamentary election.”
Leading Indian newspapers’ editorials commented on the elections saying it was “good news” to see Sheikh Hasina back in power.
The powerful Hindustan Times termed Awami League’s landslide victory as “stunning” and The Times of India labelled it as “massive.” The Hindu said Sheikh Hasina “remains immensely popular” due to her huge achievements in the Economic sector and social progress.
The Times of India editorial said “it cannot be denied that Hasina remains a hugely popular and under her Bangladesh’s economy has posted strong growth … and the country is poised to join the developing countries category by 2024.”
It pointed out that “Hasina’s return at the helm of Bangladesh should further aid New Delhi and Dhaka ties.”
The Hindu went on: “For India, Ms. Hasina’s victory is good news. New Delhi and Dhaka have deepened economic, security and strategic ties under her leadership. This should continue ...”
The editorial in The Economic Times said Sheikh Hasina’s electoral victory “is important for New Delhi in the context of countering China’s influence in the region. India must continue to partner Bangladesh in its economic growth, encouraging Indian companies to invest and working together in climate change, terrorism, migration and energy.”
And, Al Jazeera article said “Much of that growth has been fuelled by the country’s $20bn garment industry and the 4.5m jobs it sustains. The industry is credited with a doubling labour force participation among young women, which has flowed into maternal and child health benefits that have raised the country’s life expectancy to 72 years, higher than in neighbouring India and Pakistan.”
British and US newspapers too attributed her thumping victory to the country’s economic growth which created more jobs to help improve the country’s social security.
Government leaders send such messages after they get a briefing from their envoys based in the country in question. Many in Dhaka’s diplomatic corps, including Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla also welcomed the victory of the “party that led Bangladesh to its victory and the pro-liberation forces.”
The BNP, and the Jatiya Oikya Front it belonged to, hammer on fresh elections as they failed to understand or are just putting up drama, that the world has accepted the election and the statesmanship rule by Sheikh Hasina.
The world feels that there is no other leader to face Sheikh Hasina or take up the helms of the country. Many are predicting the withering away of the BNP, which got six seats in the polls, with its Chairperson Khaleda Zia in jail after being convicted for graft and her son and acting chairman Tarique Rahman self-exiled in Britain.
It is no secret that Tariqiue is the spoiled son of such politically successful parents, legally or illegally, and is being blamed by some of his own party men for sending the BNP to the ‘Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with little chances of recovering’.
With a tainted image in politics for allegedly planning to kill Hasina and his favourite anti-India card, Tarique has done what was expected of him.
Thus, it would be best for Khaleda, Tarique and the BNP leadership to relax and take stock of their election debacle instead of going from door-to-door of foreign countries to back their demand of fresh election.
Most political pundits belief with another five years in power, Hasina will win over the hearts of many of her opponents in the opposition ranks to unite the country under one roof, one ideology and one love — the spirit of our great Independence War.
Journalist Nadeem Qadir is a UN Dag Hammarskjöld fellow.