Tension escalates its peak in Khulna City Corporation (KCC) election as both Awami League and BNP are desperately running campaigns to come out as victorious. However, complaints and counter complaints from both parties have shadowed the environment of election campaign.
On one hand, AL looks desperate to win here, whereas BNP is inclined to find faults. When the election is just 72 hours away, a question rises among people, will Khulna turn into Magura?
After a rigged by-polls in Magura in 1994, AL started a movement against the BNP government. Although BNP had the majority in the parliament, it became desperate to win in the Magura by-polls. Such rigged election was unprecedented and became a symbol of a rigged election. The Magura by-polls led to adding fuel to the movement of AL for a caretaker government.
AL organized several elections during its 15 years in power. Among the many, election of January 5, 2014, and few others were questioned for being defective. However, AL was not responsible alone for the defective election. BNP boycotted the election and made it a one-sided farce. Moreover, BNP was responsible for making many other elections questionable. The six city corporations elections of 2013 prove that elections can be free and credible under a government in power. Cumilla and Narayanganj City Corporation election of last year and this year’s Rangpur City Corporation election results prove that the elections were fair as AL won only in Narayanganj. In 2013, AL lost in all the six city corporations elections. By losing in these elections, AL has proved that polls-time government is no obstacle for a free, fair, and credible election. Therefore, BNP’s demand for a caretaker government did not get much popularity.
But, in the Khulna City Corporation election, people are seeing a new AL as they seem to be desperate for winning. The mass arrest of BNP’s leaders and activists are getting more serious. The administration in Khulna division is clearly divided. AL has claimed that the civil administration, with the leadership of the returning officer, is favoring BNP. AL said that there is no level playing field in Khulna. On the other hand, BNP publicly complained against the police administration. BNP also made unrealistic demands like army deployment and hiring international election observer. The political analysts believe that BNP wants to make Khulna as its platform for movement. BNP is more into finding defects rather than winning in the KCC election. After talking with several BNP leaders, it has been understood that BNP wants to lose in this election as it believes it will increase the intensity of the movement. BNP believes that it can integrate the issue of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s release and demand for a caretaker government. With the intensity BNP wants to lose in this election, AL is also desperate to win in the election. AL believes there is no alternative to winning this election. Will AL only rely on the votes or it will choose another path to make sure that they win in the election? It is a big question. However, AL seems to be in the horns of a dilemma. If it wins, BNP will say that AL rigged the election and if it loses, people will say that AL has lost popularity. Will this election be something like the by-polls of Magura? It can be answered only after May 15.
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