Islamic parties in Bangladesh aim to forge electoral alliance

Shehab Sumon
Thu, 2018-11-08 20:20

DHAKA: Islamic political parties in Bangladesh are working to forge an alliance to support the prime minister in the upcoming general election.

Twelve parties held a meeting on Tuesday with a 14-party alliance led by the ruling Awami League.

The Islamic parties “committed to extend full cooperation so that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina could come back to power,” said Obaidul Kader, general secretary of the Awami League. But each party expressed its own opinions and demands, he added.

Mufti Sakhwat Hossain, organizing secretary of Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ), one of the country’s largest Islamic parties, told Arab News: “We’re trying to form an alliance with like-minded parties, but we won’t compromise our political views and principles.”

Sultan Mohiuddin, publicity secretary of Bangladesh Khelafot Andolon (BKA), another prominent Islamic party, told Arab News that the voter base of such parties will be split if efforts to form an electoral alliance fail.

Dr. Dilara Chowdhury, a renowned political scientist and professor at Jahangirnagar University, said “Islamic sentiment” now plays a very significant role in Bangladeshi politics, even influencing mainstream secular parties.

“Since the mainstream political parties to some extent have failed to fulfill the aspirations of the people, there is increasing support for Islamic parties,” she said, adding that the propagation of secularism has created a “backlash” in society.

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