Even six months ago, most leaders in Awami League believed BNP would not go to the polls. If it decides to go to the polls, it will go separately into divided factions. AL also believed that whoever would get nomination would be victorious for sure. The experts believe the source of such confidence in AL is the experience of the 2014 election. However, when BNP declared that it would go to the polls in any circumstances, did it make AL a bit nervous?
The experts believe AL is to some extent nervous psychologically before the election. A feeling of discomfort and nervousness is visible among a number of AL candidates. The causes behind this sudden turn of events are as follows:
1) No AL lawmakers believed that they stay in power in the next five years after the election of 2014 as most of the lawmakers were elected unopposed. However, they remained in power for a full term which has helped them grow a self-confidence in them. AL believed BNP would again boycott the election. Because of such self-confidence, AL is to some extent nervous.
2) Division in the grassroots: AL has been in power for 10-year long and it has raised the bar of ambition in politics for the leaders and workers. Besides, AL has multiple nomination aspirants from each constituency who strongly believe they are suitable for becoming lawmakers. Although AL succeeded to prevent the revolt of the aspirants, it could not remove the dissatisfaction of the workers. AL will go the polls with the mark of division. The high-ups of the party are uncomfortable with this situation as they doubt the effectiveness of a divided AL.
3) Problem for being in power for a long time: When a political party of a third world country remains in power for a long time, it begins to lose it popularity as the party fails to meet the mountainous demands of the people. Besides, after being in power for a long time, the accountability of the party leaders diminishes which causes dissatisfaction in people. In the past 10 years, a number of AL leaders have allegations of corruption and act of vandalism. The ruling party failed to give proper explanations to the people on these issues. Therefore, these issues will work as the opposing force for AL in the election, believe political experts. The AL policymakers are not unaware of this, and so AL is nervous to some extent.
4) Too much reliance on administration and law enforcing agencies: The administration and the law enforcing agencies are under AL’s control because of remaining in power for 10 long years. During those years, AL relied upon these institutions too much instead of relying upon its party leaders and workers. However, AL still has doubt whether these institutions will remain loyal to AL till the end.
5) Sheikh Hasina’s singular popularity: It is a remarkable thing to notice that AL President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is the most popular person in today’s politics. The latest surveys reveal that 67 to 70 percent people prefer the leadership of Sheikh Hasina. However, the issue is, AL has no other leader other than Sheikh Hasina. Therefore, it must cross the road of election totally depending on Sheikh Hasina’s singular popularity. Will Sheikh Hasina’s singular popularity bring victory for AL in 300 seats? Most of the AL leaders, who have image crisis, doubt this to happen. As they remained in power for so long, their connection with the local people has got cut off. Sheikh Hasina’s popularity is their only capital.
With this uneasiness and nervousness, AL is going to the polls. However, AL leaders believe for the continuation of the development works of the past 10 years, people will vote for them. AL leaders said, ‘The people are now very conscious. They will cast their votes for the development to continue.’