How Will the Election Boycott by the BNP Affect Bangladesh? | Explained

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Why is the Bangladesh Nationalist Party not participating in the polls? Will there be free and fair elections?

The story so far: On October 28, during a rally organised by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the chief Opposition party of Bangladesh, a fight broke out between the BNP cadre and law enforcement officials which led to the death of a policeman and incidents of arson.

The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina responded by jailing most of the top Opposition leaders of BNP including Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir. This confrontation came in the backdrop of the long pending demand of the BNP to hold elections under a ‘caretaker’ government. It has refused to participate in any other election even as the Election Commission of Bangladesh announced the poll date for January 7.

BNP leaders have maintained that they will not participate in the election of January 7 as they do not feel the elections will be free and fair under the Awami League government. However, the party did not clarify how they hope this strategy of boycott would help them in attaining their goal of capturing political power in Bangladesh. The party has been out of power since it was defeated in the 2009 election, and considers its boycott of elections as a form of protest which may delegitimise the election of January 7.

Source: The Hindu