Bangladesh: As tension soar before general election, opposition alliance campaigns outside Dhaka

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 16, 2018, 12.48 PM(IST) Dec 16, 2018, 12.59 PM(IST)

File photo of Bangladesh election. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Bangladeshi elections are often violent and marred by ballot-stuffing and voter intimidation.

As tension soared before the general election on December 30, Bangladesh Nationalist Party started their campaign at Gazipur district in Dhaka division on Saturday.

Begum Selima, a former government minister campaigning for the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and the newly formed opposition alliance National Unity Front, urged supporters to not let the ruling Bangladesh Awami League party led by prime minister Sheikh Hasina intimidate them.

"The ruling party is not allowing the opposition parties to come out on the street to campaign. No rally, no meeting, they want to do that so they are the only ones to campaign, to make a one party election and to come into power again. But the people of Bangladesh will not allow this, they are with us," she said.

On December 14, Jatiya Oikyafront leader Kamal Hossain's motorcade was attacked allegedly by the ruling party activists.

He was attacked in the city while he was coming back from a mausoleum in Mirpur to pay tributes to intellectuals Killed in the 1971 independence war with Pakistan.

Though the leader was unhurt, his twelve supporters were injured in the incident.

The Jatiya Oikyafront is an alliance of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Hossain-led Jatiya Oikya Prokriya, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, and Nagorik Oikya.

The Oikyafront was formed on October 13 with the demand of holding a national election under a neutral government after the dissolution of parliament and release of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia from jail.

Bangladeshi elections are often violent and marred by ballot-stuffing and voter intimidation.

For years, politics has been defined by fierce rivalry between two women -- Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and former prime minister Khaleda Zia, who leads the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

Hasina, the daughter of Bangladesh's independence hero Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, is the longest-serving leader in Bangladesh's history and is seeking a third straight term.

She began a second term in 2014, after an election boycotted by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

Until two months ago, the BNP was in disarray following the jailing in February of Khaleda, on charges she said were politically motivated.

But the BNP joined hands with smaller parties to form the alliance led by Hossain in October, setting the stage for a more competitive race.

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