Awami League wins Bangladesh polls

Dhaka, Jan 6 : Sheikh Hasina's ruling Awami League on Monday won the parliamentary elections in Bangladesh held under the shadow of violence and a boycott call by the main opposition BNP on Sunday.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is thus set for another term, thanked the people of Bangladesh for participating in the polls despite obstructions by the opposition.

The win of Hasina was but expected since the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) which leads an 18 party alliance had boycotted the polls.

The counting had started right after the polls were over on Sunday. About 21 people had died in the poll violence.

India, however, welcomed the polls.

"Elections in Bangladesh on 5th January were a constitutional requirement. They are a part of the internal and constitutional process of Bangladesh. It is for the people of Bangladesh to decide their own future and choose their representatives in a manner that responds to their aspirations. Violence cannot and should not determine the way forward. The democratic processes must be allowed to take their own course in Bangladesh," India's External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

Bangladesh earlier on Sunday completed its 10th parliamentary elections amid violence that saw at least 21 deaths in the cycle of arson, bombings and firing by police, despite high security arrangements that saw deployment of 50,000 troopers.

The turnout was low.

Most of those who died are supporters of the 18-party opposition led by the BNP after they were shot by police. The dead included Jamaat men also.

Several polling stations across Bangladesh were torched disrupting polling in over 160 centres.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) men set on fire more than 100 polling stations since Saturday till Sunday, said reports.

The BNP was protesting against the decision of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Awami League to do away with the practice of having a neutral caretaker government for supervising the polls.

Of the 300 parliamentary seats, 147 were contested only as BNP had already boycotted the polls.

While about 150 people died in the past months in the run up to the polls, violence struck the country a day before the polls as around polling centres were burnt across the country on Saturday itself.

--IBNS (Posted on 06-01-2014)

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