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The bad culture of sabotaging elections

Bangladesh, BNP, Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Jatiyo Party, Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Islamic State, India, Taliban


The bad culture of sabotaging elections

Bangladesh is heading towards the next general election, which is scheduled to take place either in December 2023 or January 2024. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already signaled of holding the election in January 2024. Meaning, the election is going to take place just within the next 17~18 months. Considering this, it can be easily assumed, the nation shall start feeling the election wave pretty soon – may be by the end of August at the latest. While there is no sign of either preparation within the ruling party about the election in real sense, main opposition, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has been consistently talking about boycotting the next election despite the fact of its large vote bank in the country.

As a political party, BNP certainly has an advantage as almost 99 percent of the Islamists and pro-jihadists in the country would enthusiastically vote for this party. It also enjoys full support from the anti-India segment in Bangladesh. The third segment of BNP voters are anti-West, more precisely anti-US. They consider the United States as their enemy because of America’s continuous battle against radical Islam and militancy. They also hate the US for its friendship with Israel.

Despite the fact of being military dictator Hussein Muhammed Ershad’s Jatiyo Party been put into the shoes of the “main opposition” in the parliament, people in Bangladesh and the world know, this party does not have even a fraction of the size of vote bank of BNP. Even key leaders of Jatiyo Party are openly admitting that they have 4~5 percent of the total number of votes in the country. Meaning, they actually are a very minor political force in Bangladesh. But there is similarly between Jatiyo Party and BNP when it comes to the case of political ideology. Both parties uphold the spirit of radical Islam as well as jihad. Both the parties are biggest fans of Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, militants and insurgents in various parts of India, and Afghan Taliban jihadists. Both the parties are silent admirers of Al Qaeda and Islamic State, while they also uphold the aspiration of “disintegration of India”. While BNP is heavily inclined towards Pakistan, Jatiyo Party does not consider it as its foe.

Now the question is – with a meagre political force such as Jatiyo Party, it may not be a smart idea for the ruling Awami League to hold the next general election by totally ignoring BNP. Unless BNP participate in the next general election, it may not get credibility in the eyes of the international community – anymore. And this is exactly what key-policymakers and leaders of BNP and their patrons are fully aware of. BNP leaders and strategists also know, despite Jamaat-e-Islami been already gone almost extinct, its voters will never cast their votes in favor of BNP candidates. In that case, it would be a big question as to where Jamaat-e-Islami voters will cast their votes. The answer is pretty plain.

Jamaat-e-Islami strategists know, with their party being exposed as the dan of war criminals and radical Islamic forces, their chances of riding into power even in the next several decades is zero. In this case, Jamaat may adopt a rogue policy of sabotaging the next general election by reciprocating what American Democratic Party had done in 2016.

According to media reports, in 2016 the Democratic Party and their media allies sought to elevate Donald Trump and boost his chances of winning the GOP presidential nomination. The “crazy” real estate tycoon, they reckoned, could not possibly defeat a candidate as impeccably credentialed as Hillary Clinton. The rest is history.

Democrats are up to their old tricks in 2022, meddling in Republican primaries across the United States in support of “crazy” candidates endorsed by Trump. Indeed, the same party that wails incessantly about the “existential threat” to America’s democracy is spending millions of dollars to nominate individuals who backed Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election.

These candidates cannot possibly win a general election, the Democrats reckon. Never mind that the party in power rarely does well in midterm elections, or the fact that Joe Biden is one of the most unpopular presidents in history and national Democrats are increasingly out of touch with normal American voters. What could go wrong?

Governor Phil Murphy (D., N.J.), who serves as vice chair of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) has last month praised the testimony of former Trump aide Cassidy Hutchinson before the January 6th select committee stating: “We must continue working together, both Democrats and Republicans, to protect our democracy”.

The DGA has been particularly aggressive when it comes to attacking moderate Republicans and boosting their Trump-backed primary opponents, and has no regrets about deploying these controversial tactics. “The best way to protect democracy is by electing Democratic governors”, said DGA communications director David Turner, suggesting the only difference among GOP primary candidates was whether their “extremism” was “explicit” or “implicit”.

Some are “committed to overturning democratic elections”, while others “refuse to commit to protecting democracy”, Turner said.

“Educating voters early on the clear contrast between MAGA Republicans and Democrats creates a clear and undeniable distinction that voters will recognize, and defeat the radicalism in November”.

Meanwhile, Democratic-aligned groups such as the “pro-democracy” Lincoln Project are spending their liberal donor’s money on ads that serve no discernible purpose other than trolling Donald Trump into running for president again.

While it would certainly help the Lincoln Project and the Democratic Party raise money, it is unclear why hysterical liberals concerned about the mortal threat to American democracy should feel good about another Trump candidacy, especially when most Democrats think Biden is too old and unpopular to run for reelection, and the party’s best alternatives are Vice President Kamala Harris, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and California governor Gavin Newsom.

And in Bangladesh case, Jamaat-e-Islami will inject huge fund towards some “crazy” candidates, who may not win the election, but can cause maximum damage to Awami League or Bangladesh Nationalist Party or both. With this agenda, Jamaat-e-Islami may chose pro-Caliphate Hefazat-e-Islam as their most effective puppet in spreading the wind of religious madness throughout the country and brand Awami League as “enemy of Islam” and BNP and “not a real friend of Islam”.

Meaning, there will be a secret conspiracy of Islamist takeover of Bangladesh. The only way to avert such consequences and save Bangladesh from becoming another Afghanistan, Western policymakers and strategists need to reboot their idea on Bangladesh. They should refrain from repeating the same blunder as they did in Afghanistan. BNP, Jamaat, Jatiyo Party and those Islamist forces such as Hefazat-e-Islam actually follow the same ideology of the Taliban and even radical Islamic militancy outfits such as Al Qaeda and Islamic State. Hope, the Western leaders will take note of it.

An internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, research-scholar, counter-terrorism specialist, and editor of Blitz. Follow him on Twitter Salah_Shoaib

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