Confrontational politics is not new in Bangladesh. But it seems to have intensified in the last few months, especially after the unofficial main opposition, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), decided to launch protests on the first anniversary of the 2014 parliamentary elections in order to force the Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League government to step down. The BNP considers the January 5, 2014 parliamentary elections as illegal and hence the government in power as illegitimate.
The BNP has urged the government to arrange for dialogue. The AL says the BNP must snap ties with the Jamaat before engaging in negotiation. The uncompromising attitude of the two leaders is the main hurdle to initiate concrete steps for resolving the ongoing political impasse. Many Bangladeshis feel that it would take at least another year to reach an agreement.
Unlike the major global powers which termed the polls “non-representative”, India – the closest regional ally of Bangladesh, recognised Sheikh Hasina’s victory despite a “record low voter turnout” and supported her in staking claim to form the next government.
The struggle for control over the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) took a new turn after the reformist faction appointed former finance minister Saifur Rahman as the acting chairman. This decision was taken by the highest policy making standing committee in a five hour meeting on October 29. The committee also made former water resource minister and dissident leader Hafizuddin Ahmed the new Secretary General. However, the meeting allowed Khaleda Zia to remain as the party's chairperson.