19 January, 2021

Liberation, Theology

The pre-poll acrimony spills over, a fragile democracy is in test

Liberation, Theology
Bangladesh politics has an inglorious tradition: losers never accept the people's verdict gracefully. So, when former PM Sheikh Hasina rejected the October 1 election as a farce, most observers dismissed her repudiation as a vanquished leader's reaction, quite certain that she would eventually accept her defeat.

But the Awami League chief's seemingly inflexible attitude—not to join parliament—and her subsequent ultimatum to the chief election commissioner to "cancel the results by October 10 or else..." has raised fears of renewed instability that has haunted this nation through much of its history. It's unlikely that the commission would give in but the Awami League's threat to boycott parliament could deal a severe blow to the fragile democracy that had just begun to take roots—after nearly two decades of military and quasi-military rule—after the last dictator, Gen Hussain Mohammad Ershad, was swept out in 1990.

Although the caretaker government's role in conducting the election was mired in controversy, Sheikh Hasina's claim of widespread fraud in the polls...


To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

In this article:

More from Arshad Mahmud

Latest Magazine

January 25, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section