From The Clutch Of Autocracy To The Path Of Democracy

 

2007 July 16 02

After six years of misrule, characterized by corruption, rise of terrorism and militancy and a dwindling international reputation, the then BNP-Jamaat Government was extremely apprehensive about the state of their popular support. As a result, in 2006, through a puppet Election Commission, BNP-Jamaat government engineered a voter list, which contained millions of fake voters. Awami League and like-minded parties launched a new voter list under a reconstituted and credible Election Commission.

In January 2007, taking advantage of the political unrest unleashed by BNP-Jamaat’s voting fraud, and their deliberate attempts to manipulate the caretaker government system by installing the puppet President Iajuddin Ahmed as the Chief Advisor, the military seized power through installing a so-called ‘caretaker government’. Widespread restrictions on constitutional and fundamental rights were imposed in the guise of emergency powers. All political activity was effectively banned. Knowing that only one leader in Bangladesh had enough public support and organizational strength to pose a challenge to their rule, on 16th July 2007, the regime arrested Sheikh Hasina on false charges which subsequently came to be dismissed by the highest courts of the country. She was held in captivity until her release on 11 June, 2008. After treatment abroad, she returned home on 4 December, 2008. During her incarceration, the party launched a massive campaign, both at home and abroad, to press for her release. Between 7th and 30th June, 2008 mass signature campaign is conducted nationwide to realize release of Sheikh Hasina. From 15th to 30th June, extended meetings of the party were organized in various districts to mount public pressure for the demand.

After being released, on 12th December, a rejuvenated Awami League led by Sheikh Hasina unveiled the election manifesto called ‘Dinbodoler Shonod’ (Manifesto of Change) which highlighted such aims as turning Bangladesh into a technology advanced middle income country by the year 2021. Resonating among the people, especially the youth and first time voters, on 29th December 2008, the Awami League-led Grand Alliance won a landslide victory in the national elections by securing 264 out of 300 seats.

 

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