Impossible to manipulate elections by 49m votes: Joy

Bangla Tribune Report
Published : 16:35, Jan 12, 2019 | Updated : 17:21, Jan 12, 2019

In response to allegations of rigging, Awami League chief and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s son Sajeeb Wazed Joy said that it’s impossible to manipulate polls by 49 million votes.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s son Sajeeb Wazed Joy casts his vote at Dhaka City College Centre during the 11th Parliamentary Election on Dec 30, 2018. PID“The Awami League's margin over the BNP is about 49 million votes. It is simply not possible to manipulate elections by 49 million votes without it being caught on everyone’s mobile camera,” he said on the social media post.
In a Facebook post, he also said that the BNP and the opposition alliance Jatiya Oikya Front, which have been “thoroughly rejected” by voters, now resorted to “begging their foreign masters for help”.
“As for their claims of voter intimidation, even if every voter who did not vote for AL voted for the Okyo Front, they would still be more than 22 million votes short,” said Joy.
Blaming the opposition of resorting to international lobbying and PR blitz to prove the elections were, he said that any kind of rigging was “mathematically impossible”.
“The first complaint is that voter turnout was too high and indicates false votes. The final voter turnout figure is 80% and it is not a record in Bangladesh. That distinction is held by the 2008 elections under the 2007-2008 "caretaker" regime when turnout was 87%. The AL won that election in a landslide with 48% of the vote by itself. In 2001 the voter turnout was around 75.6% and in 1996 it was 75%. Turnout was just slightly higher because this is the first fully participatory elections in a decade.
The second propaganda is that the ruling party received 90% of the vote. This is a complete falsehood. The AL by itself received around 72%. Our Mohajote allies received just under 5%. Even the 72% is not a record for the AL. In the 1973 election after Independence the AL received 73.2% of the vote,” Hasina’s son said.
The Awami League’s (AL) final opinion poll, two weeks before the voting, showed that it would bag between 57 and 63 percent of the votes and the BNP 19 to 25 percent, Joy said.
“So how did the AL receive 72% of the vote? Our opinion poll sampled the entire voters' list in 300 constituencies, all 104 million voters. But there is never 100% voter turnout and elections were held in 298 seats, not 300. The number of registered voters in the 298 seats was 103.5 million and an 80% turnout means 82.8 million people voted. The AL received about 60 million votes. 60 million out of 103.5 million is 58% of registered voters in those seats. The AL actually received votes on the low side of our poll’s margin of error.”
He attributed the landslide win to the country’s economic growth during the Awami League administration.
“… our AL Government has improved the lives of our citizens more than any other government in Bangladesh’s history. We have become a middle-income country, per capita income has trebled, poverty has been halved, almost everyone has access to education, basic healthcare, electricity, and the list is endless. If there was a way to improve the lives of the Bangladeshi people, our Government has done it or the progress is visible.”
The second reason Joy pointed out was the party’s election campaign, which he said started right after the 2014 polls.
“We have not wasted any opportunity to inform the Bangladeshi people that we, the Awami League, are solely responsible for the positive changes in their lives. All the social and economic successes that have happened were because of the vision, planning, execution and hard work of our AL Ministers, Members of Parliament, Councilors, everyone. While our opposition and “civil society” were busy complaining about problems, we were telling people how we were providing solutions,” he wrote.
In his Facebook post, the Awami League chief’s son also provided his take on the BNP and Oikyo Front’s debacle in the election.

The BNP is in “complete disarray” with its chairperson jailed for graft and the acting chief being a fugitive living abroad, he said but added it was not the most signification factor.
“I’ve observed its effect through annual opinion polls. Once the BNP started burning civilians alive during their 2013-15 arson attack campaign, their popularity fell off a cliff. Prior to the arson attacks the BNP was usually around 10% behind the AL in opinion polls. After the arson attacks they fell 30% behind and kept falling,” he wrote in the post.
Defining the opposition alliance’s election campaign as “self-defeating”, Joy said that the BNP made a major mistake to include acting chief Tarique Rahman in the process of picking candidates.
“All this managed to do is remind people of Hawa Bhaban and his corruption and violence. To add fuel to the fire, he picked known and wanted criminals and war criminals as candidates!”
According to him, the opposition coalition’s repeated calls for boycotting the election has turned out be suicidal for them. “If you think your party is going to boycott, are you going to go out to vote? This is what caused the drop in their voter turnout and hence, their low percentage of the vote.”