29 October, 2020

A Farce For Festoons

An empty election gives no answers, deepens the political impasse

A Farce For Festoons

“Nobody loves the country!” And so saying, the room service man at my hotel banged the pot of tea on the table. The polling had just ended. Twenty people were dead and there was no official word on the voter turnout, though I know the last booth I went to saw just 28 votes cast out of a voter list of 2097. Awami League has put it at 40 to 46 per cent. The BNP said it was 3 to 5 per cent. The room service man was angry. “What is going to happen to us, didi?” he asked me. “Where do we go from here?”

That is the one question that hangs over Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina put up a brave face when asked how she was going to handle the multiple crises on her hands. “What do you want me to do? Sit down and cry? No! I am confident I can fully tackle any crisis facing the country.”

Many say that is plain bravado in the teeth of mayhem. There is a plan, yes—to form the government with a straight face and carry on as if it is business as usual. But there is no accounting for what the opposition might do next. In December, they...



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