Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina. (File image)

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is seemingly desperate to win the forthcoming general elections due in early 2024, even though the opposition parties are yet to decide to participate in the polls. The undisputed leader of Bangladesh Awami League starts her aggressive campaigning for the elections by slamming the opposition camp led by Bangladesh Nationalist Party in various public forums. Recently, PM Hasina (75) claimed that BNP and its allies are not interested in elections, but continued violence to anarchy

The BNP supremo Khaleda Zia, 77, insists on a caretaker government in Dhaka which should oversee the electoral process in the south Asian nation. She publicly stated that the ruling parties would rig the polls for turning the outcome in their favour, because they know they are losing the battle of ballots involving nearly 13 crore voters, if held in a free and fair manner. But PM Hasina refused to step down to pave the way for a neutral administration in Dhaka ahead of polls.

The ruling AL won over 250 Parliamentarians in 2018 elections, and it enjoys an absolute majority in the 350-member Jatiya Sangsad. PM Hasina, daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman-respected as Bangla’s Father of the Nation-still enjoys the reputation and electoral advantages over the opposition parties. Moreover, Begum Zia continues to be unhealthy and acting BNP chairperson Tarque Rahman lives in exile in London since 2008. Lately, wild speculations surface that the combined opposition parties may project Professor Muhammad Yunus as their leader in the forthcoming polls.

Needless to mention that the Nobel laureate economist turned banker tried to form a political party in 2007. Prof Yunus named the party as Nagarik Shakti, but soon he abandoned the idea citing reasons of non-cooperation by the common Bangladeshi nationals. The microfinance visionary, who established the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh (which shared 2006 Nobel prize with him), however maintains that he would not join in party politics any more.

But PM Hasina had already grown the rivalry against Prof Yunus and she apprehends that Prof Yunus can influence the voters against her party in elections. The ground reports reveal that the incumbent PM Hasina will lose the elections. So when the octogenarian socio-economic thinker asserts that he has no plan to join active politics, the ruling class in Dhaka assumes Prof Yunus as a threat to PM Hasina’s political career.

Witnessing repeated persecutions of Prof Yunus by the administration in Dhaka under the pretext of audits and investigations, 177 global leaders including Nobel laureates recently expressed concern and urged PM Hasina to suspend all legal proceedings against him. In an open letter, they termed the continuous judicial harassment to Prof Yunus as a threat to human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in Bangladesh. Even commanding on the laudable progress made by Bangladesh since its independence in 1971, they expressed deep concern over the threats to Prof Yunus and many other rights activists the country.

Political observers in northeast India start speculating the probable outcome and its aftermath. Without directly supporting PM Hasina, most of the experts view that India wants a stable government in Dhaka, which continues the progressive alliance with New Delhi for the ensuing security and development process in the south Asian region. Moreover, many commentators assume PM Hasina as a friend to India in general and Hindus in particular. They also remain grateful to her for dismantling all northeastern militant’s camps inside Bangladesh as well as handing over a number of separatist leaders to India for the sake of peace in the region.