The 11th parliamentary elections having been held on the 30th December, 2018, it is now time to reflect on what actually happened on that fateful day.
To deal with the issue, I would like to refer to my discussion with some of my dear and near ones including colleagues, friends and the social media.
To begin with, I as a voter had the eerie feeling that the election was not going to be free and fair this time around. In fact, no election held under a party-government in our country has been so. And for that reason, I didn’t feel like going to the polling centre concerned to cast my vote. But members of my family and that of the in-law’s had the audacity to do so. And what they reported back to me had me simply numbed and chilled. While some of them were graciously allowed to get into the booth by activists of the ruling party, the rest were not. One of those denied entry into the booth happens to be a lady with honours and master degrees in political science. She is yet to come to terms with the nightmare.
Then comes the happy tale of one of my clerks who had the good luck to cast as many as twenty two votes himself and that too well ahead of the actual beginning of the polling hours.
I have been fortunate enough to be in contact with two of my remarkable friends-one a lawyer practicing with me and the other a lawyer practicing before the hon’ble High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. Both of them were associated with the student front of the ruling party and are still sympathizers with the party. While the former seconded me in terms of my decision not to vote, the latter sounded very apologetic as to disfranchising the citizenry.
Now about two posts on facebook by two gentlemen from the same constituency in Cox’sBazar. One of them is a former highly-placed official of an international NGO and the other one is a lawyer practicing as a member of the local bar. The former NGO official had the good sense presumably to seek apology from the voters of his native village for what he and his party men did in terms of the election. And the lawyer himself was a candidate who along with his family members numbering nine in total claimed to have cast their votes in the polling centre concerned. But as the results after the counting was declared, he was stupefied to find that he begged only two votes in that self-same polling centre !
Certain it is that the Awame League made history-But what is to be derived from such history remains to be answered for ages to come.
Mohammed Shahjahan is lawyer, columnist and translator.