Bangladeshi politicians cautious about India polls results

DhakaTribune || Shining BD

Published: 6/6/2024 8:01:11 AM

After the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA alliance won the 17th Lok Sabha elections of India in 2019, various political parties, including the Awami League, the BNP, Jamaat-e-Islami, and Gano Forum, congratulated them, with exceptions from Qawmi madrasa-based parties and groups.

This time, the NDA alliance has won the election as well. However, the attitudes of Dhaka-based politicians towards the winners are quite varied. Some politicians are wary of commenting again. They say that elections in India are the country's own internal affairs and a question of people's rights.

Speaking to Bangla Tribune on Wednesday, leaders of some parties said that India's elections have just been held. Even if the NDA emerges victorious, the formation of the new government will occur within a few more days. In that case, a few parties in the country may congratulate Modi.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister Dr Hasan Mahmood congratulated Modi on his reelection.

After the Indian election results, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir made a public comment. Moreover, other BNP leaders are also exercising extreme caution. No one agreed to comment directly on the results or expectations. Following Modi's 2019 election victory, BNP's acting chairman, Tarique Rahman, sent an official congratulatory message to the Indian High Commission in Dhaka. Party leaders are still reluctant to say anything about what will happen this time.

Some of the party's influential functionaries think that in spite of the NDA's victory in the elections of neighbouring countries, the BNP has a reality to take from the success of the Congress-led INDIA coalition. They observe that the electoral success came despite the victory of former Prime Minister Imran Khan's party candidates in Pakistan's national elections held earlier this year and the country's government's "extremely hostile" treatment of him. At the same time, the BNP also needs “prudence” to take from the success of the opposition alliance "INDIA" in the recent elections.

Observers also point out that success in politics comes through antagonism. If the BNP leadership is able to consider this issue with “prudence”, it will have a positive impact on politics.

Many people believe that the BNP has suffered, particularly as a result of its non-participation in the 2014 national elections. However, no BNP leader wanted to say anything on record about this.

BNP Standing Committee Member Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku said: "In India, there are fair elections. In our country, elections take place at night. The people of the state institutions make the selection. OC-DCs make elections in our country. In India, people are able to exercise their right to vote, but here, we do not have the same privilege.

Mirza Fakhrul also spoke about the Indian elections on Wednesday. "The Lok Sabha elections have reflected the right of Indians to vote," he stated. At least, they (the people) have prevented Modi's (Narendra Modi's) wish to come to power with an absolute majority three times because Indians have the right to vote." The BJP is not gaining an absolute majority today.

Asked if India’s elections could affect Dhaka's politics, BNP Standing Committee Member Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury said: "I don't think so. They will conduct the elections as they like. We don't care about other countries. We are indifferent to the outcome of their elections. It’s the matter of that country. Voting is a natural way to elect them. That is right for them. People have exercised their rights.”

However, speaking to some leaders of other political parties and organizations outside the BNP, it was learned that even if the NDA alliance came to power, it is seen as a positive situation that the BJP is not getting a single majority. In this regard, some people think that the “radical approach of the BJP" has taken a backseat.

Asked, Mahmudur Rahman, president of Nagorika Oikya, said: “India has had a beautiful election. I welcome them. But our country's election system has been destroyed gradually. Those who raised the spectre of communalism in India did not get attention. It is India's own affair, but it is the people's verdict. People have been able to exercise their right to vote.”

One of the Ganatantra Mancha's top leaders believes that the ruling Awami League can learn from the Indian elections. Seeking anonymity, he said: “We are 80 million voters, but we do not have a fair vote here. We do not vote to strengthen our power. But in India, there are about 97 crore voters. I thank the people of India for this.”

Mojibur Rahman Manju, AB Party Member Secretary, sees the verdict of the people of India as positive. He said: "It seems that if the BJP or Narendra Modi had not shown various undemocratic measures and intimidation before the polls, then their situation would have been more deplorable in the poll results.

"The Indian government has shown the shame of 'Modi policy' on the democracy of Bangladesh; it seems that the people of this country are enjoying this decrease in public support for Modi."

Maulana Azizul Haque Islamabadi, joint secretary general of Hefazat-e-Islam, said: "This time, Modi's party, the BJP has lost its single majority. As a result of this, I think that Modi's radical anti-Muslim Hindutva policy will go on the backfoot.

“If there is no real improvement in the quality of life of the common people, absolute public support cannot be maintained by mere religious division and appeasement of the rich class. That's why Narendra Modi's hype has now waned in India, even though he lost his single-majority alliance and has a chance to come back to power. "Our rulers must also learn from this."

Incidentally, after the last two elections in India, the politicians of Dhaka's Islamist parties expressed various fears about the BJP. We assume that this time will be no different.

Contacted through various channels to talk about this, Bangla Tribune could not talk to Maulana Mamunul Haque, secretary general of Bangladesh Khilafat Majlis, which waged violent protests across the country during Modi’s visit to Dhaka to join the twin celebrations of the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s Independence in 2021.

Jamaat congratulated Narendra Modi after the formation of the new government in the Lok Sabha elections held in 2014 and 2019. In response to the question of what is in the party's plans this time, Publicity Secretary and Member of the Central Executive Council Matiur Rahman Akand said: “Our party’s greetings are sent usually after the formation of a government as a neighbouring country. It's actually a courtesy. It isn’t considered who came to power or left.”

He said a decision on the congratulatory message would be taken after the formation of the new government in India.

Shining BD