Home Contact Us  
   

South Asia - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#4184, 20 November 2013
 

Bangladesh Elections 2013

Under Third Party Shadow?
Wasbir Hussain
Executive Director, CDPS, Guwahati & Visiting Fellow, IPCS
 

With the installation of an ‘all-party’ interim government headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to oversee the ensuing national elections and the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which is not part of it, dismissing the new regime as a ‘farce’, the stage is set for more street protests and intense lobbying by third parties to work out an arrangement to ensure the polls actually take place in a true democratic spirit. The Hasina-led Awami League went ahead with its idea of putting in place an ‘all-party’ government, rejecting the BNP-led opposition coalition’s demand that the polls in January end are held under the supervision of a neutral caretaker government. Predictably, all the eight ministers sworn in, including the two ministers of state, belong to the Awami League-led grand alliance.
The promise by Khaleda Zia’s BNP to step up protests not only increases the possibility of street battles in the days ahead, but also gives a clear indication that the party may actually boycott the elections itself. In this scenario, one is already witnessing nudgings by third parties like the United States and India. But as things stand now, neither Washington nor New Delhi enjoy the trust of the political establishment across the board in Bangladesh. In fact, the ‘all-party’ government was installed as US assistant secretary of state Nisha Biswal ended a three-day visit to the country with a call for dialogue between the Awami League and the BNP to end the deadlock.
The visiting US official said, “The announcement of the interim cabinet simply underscores the urgency for a dialogue to take place immediately to determine a way forward for peaceful, free, fair and credible elections.” Biswal’s remark does indicate that Washington was ready to try and bring about a rapprochement between the Begums at least in so far as smooth conduct of the polls are concerned. But, the Awami League has indicated it has doubts about the neutrality of the US. Some Awami League leaders have openly accused the US Ambassador in Dhaka of ‘behaving like a BNP leader.’  India, too, has voiced the need for ‘dialogue’ to break the deadlock but New Delhi suffers from a high dose of credibility crisis because the BNP and its allies view the UPA regime to be pro-Awami League.
In this backdrop of uncertainty, one cannot rule out the Army in Bangladesh stepping in to play a limited role in holding the elections and ensuring a civilian government in place. If at all this happens, such a civilian government will come to have the Army’s backing. But, as of now, the Awami League appears to be working overtime to drive a wedge among the BNP-led coalition to see if some of the smaller parties of that combine could be persuaded to contest the polls. But, the Awami League’s significant success thus far has been to get Gen. Hussain Mohammed Ershad’s Jatiya Party to agree to contest the elections. The fact that five of the eight ministers in the ‘all-party’ interim Cabinet are from the Jatiya Party indicates the extent of adjustment, even compromise, the Awami League has been forced to make to provide a semblance of legitimacy to the poll process.
As things unfold in Dhaka, India has lot to be worried about. The Election Commission in Bangladesh, and earlier the High Court, has barred one of BNP’s key allies, the radical Jamaat-e-Islami, from contesting the elections. That has not deterred the BNP from strategizing its course of action ahead of the polls with the Jamaat. Besides, the BNP has the backing of the relatively new Islamist outfit on the block, the Hifazat-e-Islam, said to be a front of the Jamaat. New Delhi is bound, therefore, to watch the situation in Bangladesh carefully and hope the polls take place in an acceptable manner, and a democratic force is able to occupy the seat of power in Dhaka. New Delhi also must be bothered about whether the opponents of the ruling Awami League would try and target the minorities during the run up to the polls. Estimates say the minorities comprise 10 percent of Bangladesh’s electorate and are a deciding factor in several constituencies. Things are volatile to say the least, and as far as India is concerned, its dilemma over Bangladesh never seems to end.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
 
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Indo-Pacific
Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Indus-tan
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within


OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 
Related Articles
Delwar Hossain,
"Bangladesh Post Elections 2014: Redefining Domestic Politics?," 16 January 2014
Harun ur Rashid,
"Bangladesh Post Elections 2014: What Went Wrong?," 15 January 2014
Chiranjib Haldar,
"Bangladesh Elections 2013: Fate of a Nation," 7 January 2014
Harun ur Rashid,
"Can the President Resolve the Political Crisis?," 3 December 2013
Wasbir Hussain,
"Bangladesh Elections: The ‘Hifazat’ Factor and its Implications for India," 1 November 2013
Suvolaxmi Dutta Choudhury,
"Bangladesh Elections: Would the Shahbagh Upsurge Bring the Awami League Back?," 6 June 2013
Dr. Sanjay Bhardwaj,
"Special Commentary: Bangladesh Elections 2013," 5 April 2013

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Rogue NDFB Pushed to the Wall?

Jihadis from Bangladesh: Eyeing Trans-Border Playing Fields?

Migration Issue in Assam: Going Beyond The Rhetoric

Verdict 2016: Assam

A Vote For A New Assam?

Forecast 2016: Security Situation in Northeast India

Contours of Sino-Indian relations in 2016

Can Suu Kyi Usher in True Democracy in Myanmar?

Meghalaya: The High Court Push for Army Act

Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle

Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria

Myanmar Polls: Test for Suu Kyi and Democracy

Modi-fying India-Bangladesh Ties

China: Implications of Modi’s Visit on Northeast India

Naga Peace Process: Gone Off Track

Myanmar: Democracy in Brakes

Dimapur Lynching: Mirror to Nagaland’s Security Scene

Insurgency in Northeast India: The Chinese Link

India’s Northeast: Need for a New Anti-Terror Policy

India-China: Securitising Water

India and Bangladesh: The Northeast Thrust

India’s Myanmar Mission

India-China 1962 War: An Open Secret

Foreign Policy Challenges for Modi

Federalism and Foreign Policy: Do National Political Parties have ‘Regional Outlooks’?

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2017
 January  February  March  April  May  June
 2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009
 2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001
 2000  1999  1998  1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2017, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.