The donor countries United States, United Kingdom, and European Union have endorsed India to meddle in the upcoming general election of Bangladesh. They have already proposed India to bring the two major parties of the country together for a table discussion on finding the middle ground where BNP would join the polls. Several diplomatic sources have confirmed this.
Taking into consideration different issues, Bangladesh has come out of the influence of the United States and the European Union. After the ‘historic humanitarian’ stance of Bangladesh on Rohingya issue, no country wants to put pressure on the country over the election issue. On the other hand, the dependence of politics of the country on India has increased because of being a neighbor and the recent improvement of their relation. Specially, India’s unilateral support in the 2014 election helped the ruling party to remain in power for a full term. India wants a stable government in Bangladesh for the sake of its own security. India wants a party to remain in power that will take a zero-tolerance stance against militancy, terrorism, and separatism. Again, just like Congress, the BJP government does not want to support blindly Awami League-led government. It wants a free and fair election. Therefore, India is seen as the perfect country to meddle in the election.
Moreover, AL does not want to hold talks with the European Union or the United States. Recently, several US representatives did not get the chance for a meeting with the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Those who could meet with the PM were told that the election will be held according to the constitution. The European Union had had the same experience like the USA. Considering this, India is in a better position, reflects the diplomatic corps.
The existing relation between India and Bangladesh is better than any other spell of the countries’ history. India also, for their own interest, wants to increase its influence in Bangladesh. In the last there months, the communication between BNP and Indian diplomats has increased. A source claims that BNP has become pragmatic enough to realize that an anti-India mentally will not serve them to rise to power. On India’s suggestion, BNP is holding peaceful programs. It is very likely that India, in the end, will be able to take BNP on the election field. However, India will not help any party to win in the election. Rather, India wants to bring both parties on the election field with the condition that people would have the final say.
Other donor countries also want this. But, India made it very clear that it does not support the idea of a caretaker government for a free and fair election. Rumors are in the air that India is mediating between the two major parties for a free, fair and participatory election under the current government. Regular visits of prominent politicians from both parties have built a solid foundation for the rumor. Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj will arrive in the country in April or May to discuss the Teesta Water Treaty and as well as other issues. Her visit will also confirm India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh. The diplomatic sources have confirmed that the Indian PM’s visit will take place before the parliamentary election of Bangladesh.
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