The twelfth national election of Bangladesh is going to be held on Sunday on January 07, 2024, after passing many long ups and downs and putting an end to all speculations. Twenty seven registered political parties are contesting for 300 seats in this election. A total of 1895 valid candidates including 382 independent candidates are participating. Almost all the political parties of the country are participating in this election except the BNP and like-minded parties who are in the movement to establish a caretaker government by overthrowing the current government. Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, an anti-independence political party linked to crimes against humanity, has been declared ineligible for election by a Supreme Court ruling. As a result, Jamaat-e-Islami, the closest political partner of BNP, cannot participate in this election.
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The total number of voters for 300 constituencies in this election is about 12 crore, in which the number of male and female voters is almost equal. The Election Commission has arranged a total of 42,149 centers and about 2,62,000 polling booths to receive the votes of this large number of voters. A review of the polling data of the last eleven elections in Bangladesh shows that the average voter turnout in the elections is 59%. The lowest vote was in the February 15, 1996 election; 21 percent and the highest vote was cast in the 2008 election; 86 percent. Data from two referendums held during military rulers Ziaur Rahman and HM Ershad were not taken into account in this calculation.
As the BNP-Jamaat alliance is not participating in the 12th national election, it can be assumed that their hardcore 30-35% supporters will not be encouraged to vote. As a result, theoretically it can be said that there may be a maximum turnout of 65-70% of the total voters in this election. Realistically and considering the past average voter turnout, it can be said that 38-41% of the total voter turnout is the most likely figure for this election. Taking very optimistic calculations into account, this number could be 55-60%. It should be noted that the number of new voters in this election is around 3 crores. Therefore, a major determinant of total voter turnout will be the extent to which participating political parties and candidates are able to attract new voters. On the other hand, another big voter segment is women. To encourage them to vote in the election, a fair, festive and non-violent election environment should be maintained till the election day. Election Commission, BGB, Bsngladesh Army, political parties and candidates participating in the election shall have to remain sincere in this regard.
One thing to remember is that among the ongoing development indicators of Bangladesh, a fair and unquestionable national election may be the most important indicator that requires to be added. There are more or less questions in the public mind about the last eleven elections. Therefore, the opportunity has come to enter the upcoming twelfth national election into the history pages by holding the cleanest ever election of the country. This is the expectation of the new generation and seventeen crore people of the country. It is known from various sources that in addition to local observers, more than two hundred foreign observers are coming to this election. It is said – observers are the eyes and ears of a fair election. Thousands of media workers in the country will also be involved in the extended monitoring along with these observers. Therefore, this election can create a solid foundation for this new journey from Digital Bangladesh to Smart Bangladesh. A fair election is a key ingredient in building a strong government. Standing on this solid foundation makes it much easier to manage the state later on. Domestic and foreign negative forces are then weakened, the mouth of the cynic is silenced for at least five years, development partners and investors feel comfortable. In a word, through a clean ekection, a beautiful platform is created to move forward in keeping with the developed world. That’s what we all want!