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Bangladesh goes for polls on Dec 30; crucial for India concerning security and development

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New Delhi, Dec 28: India's one of the most important neighboring country Bangladesh will be voting to elect its 11th Parliament on December 30, 2018. The main contest is between Bangladesh Awami League led by incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition alliance called as National United Front-led by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief Khaleda Zia. Eyes of the entire world including India is on these elections.

Bangladesh goes for polls on Dec 30; crucial for India concerning security and development

General elections in Bangladesh will have a definite impact on India as both the countries share around 4000 kilometer long border. Bangladesh is politically very important country for India as it is one of the most important part of India's Look East Policy. Improvement was visible in the bilateral relations of both the countries during the Sheikh Hasina government. Border disputes have been amicably solved.

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They have set up strong security cooperation. There are progress in the Teesta River water distribution issue and Indian investment in Bangladesh has also increased. On the contrary both the tenures of Khaleda Zia have been hostile with India and experts call her party as anti-India. She was accused of sheltering anti-India elements in Bangladesh.

Khaleda Zia is at the moment in jail serving five year term for corruption charges and she has been declared ineligible to contest elections. Zia's son and chief of the party Tariq Rahman is in London. On the other hand Sheikh Hasina is looking for third term and if she wins it will be her fourth term as Prime Mminister.

There are dominance of two national political parties in the country - ruling Bangladesh Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party and both the national parties lead the alliance called Mahagathbandhan and Jatia Okaya Front (JOF). Mahagathbandhan is led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. JOF is being led by the largest party of the alliance and chief of BNP and former PM Begum Khaleda Zia. Communist Party of Bangladesh is leading the Democratic Alliance of seven political parties.

There are around 10.42 crore voters in Bangladesh including 5.16 women voters. All these voters will exercise their franchise at 40199 poling stations in the country on December 30, 2018. Though Bangladesh is an Islamic nation but secularism is one of the four important tenets of the country. In the total 16.47 crore population of the country, around 10 per cent of them are minorities that included 9 per cent Hindus, 0.5 per cent Buddhist and rest Christian.

For the first time Electronic Voting Machine (EVMs) will be used in these elections in Bangladesh. Jatiya Sansad (House of the Nation) is the top legislative body of Bangladesh. It has 350 members and out of that 300 get directly from different constituencies. Fifty seats reserved for women is distributed among political parties proportionately as per the vote share of the party in the elections.

So to win elections in Bangladesh a party is required to win at least 151 seats and elections takes place in every five year. In 2014 elections BNP boycotted elections so the Awami League had won 234 seats out of 300.

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