• Wednesday, Oct 05, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Jamaat in dilemma with smallest vote bank

  • Published at 05:00 pm January 3rd, 2019
Jamaat logo
Logo of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh

Jamaat-e-Islami, the controversial party which lost its registration by a High Court order on October 29, obtained  6,93,077 votes in 22 constituencies in the December 30 polls, the lowest votes polled since the 7th parliamentary election in 1996

The December 30 election in Bangladesh brought a landslide victory for the Awami League leaving the main opposition far behind and the Jamaat-e-Islami away from politics.

Jamaat-e-Islami, the controversial party which lost its registration by a High Court order on October 29, obtained  6,93,077 votes in 22 constituencies in the December 30 polls, the lowest votes polled since the 7th parliamentary election in 1996. 

The figure accounts for just around 0.87% of the total votes cast. According the Election Commission, 80,259,172 ballots were cast in the December 30 election, which is 77% of the country’s total voters.

In the election, Jamaat placed 26 of its leaders to contest the polls race. Of them, Nazibur Rahman, son of executed war criminal Motiur Rahman Nizami, contested from the Pabna-1 constituency while another war criminal Delawar Hossain Sayedee’s son Shamim Sayedee vied for Pirojpur-1 seat.

The party fielded 22 of its candidates who contested with the“sheaf of paddy” symbol, while four others ran as independent candidates after the Election Commission revoked its registration.

The Dhaka Tribune, after analyzing the election results of 20 Jamaat candidates contending with BNP’s election symbol and two others who vied as independent candidates, estimated the number of votes the party obtained. 

Despite repeated attempts, this reporter could not manage a comment from the party’s top-brass over the election debacle. 

Jamaat’s candidate for Nilphamary-2, Moniruzzaman Montu, obtained the highest (80,283) votes, against Awami League’s heavyweight contestant Asaduzzaman Noor who polled 1,78,030 votes. On the contrary, Nazibur Rahman obtained only 245 votes in Pabna-1, the lowest votes  received by any of the party candidates in the election.

The party rejected the results of 11th general election held on December 30 alleging ‘massive vote rigging’ across the country. Jamaat Secretary General Dr Shafiqur Rahman announced the party’s decision during the voting hours.

Party’s status in previous polls

In the 1996 election, when the party fielded one candidate in each of the 300 seats for the first time, it bagged 36,53,013 votes that counts to 8.61%, winning in three constituencies.  

In 2001 election, the party, which has long been a close ally of the BNP, obtained even lesser votes. In the 8th general polls, it obtained 23,85,361 votes, merely 4.2% of the total count. 

However, as a key component of the BNP-led four-party alliance that registered a landslide victory in the election, Jamaat made it to the parliament with 17 of its candidates coming out victorious. 

Performance of Jamaat in the 2008 election was a little impressive compared to that of the 8thparliamentary election in terms of the percentage of votes. At that time, it won three seats, obtaining 32,89,967 or 4.7% votes.

During the 1971 Liberation War, the party opposed Bangladesh’s independence, with many of its leaders assisting the Pakistani occupation forces, in which three million lost their lives. 

The High Court in its August 1, 2013 verdict had declared Jamaat’s registration with the Election Commission “illegal and void,” observing that the registration was prepared unlawfully and that the party’s charter contained elements contrary to the constitution and the election rules of Bangladesh.

The verdict also said Jamaat had no moral right to be in Bangladesh’s political arena for the atrocities it committed during the Liberation War.

On the same day, Jamaat moved to the Supreme Court, challenging the verdict.

After the High Court’s order, the commission withheld the party’s registration while waiting for the copy of the full verdict.

On November 4, 2008, during the period of the military-backed caretaker government, Jamaat obtained registration after the then Election Commission made it mandatory for political parties to register in order to contest in the polls, and allottedthe ‘scale’ as its election symbol.

In mid-April, 2016, the Islamic State (IS) revealed that the grassroots followers of Jamaat are joining the militant outfit.

Shaykh Abu Ibrahim al-Hanif, the so-called chief of the IS’ fighters in Bangladesh, made the claim in an interview with its propaganda magazine Dabiq. 

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