chapter  16
22 Pages

Elections, Parties, and Interest Groups

WithRobert C. Oberst, Yogendra K. Malik, Charles H. Kennedy, Ashok Kapur, Mahendra Lawoti, Syedur Rahman, Ahrar Ahmad

Two elections during the British India period impacted Bangladesh. The first was held in 1936–1937 for Bengal's legislative council and legislative assembly. In the second election, held in 1945–1946, the issue was a national one: the separation of Muslim-majority areas of undivided India from the Hindu-majority territories. The first election of the Pakistan period was held in 1954. Charismatic personalities, factionalism, and ineffective leadership tend to define the political party system of Bangladesh. Their leaders are generally not known for their zealous commitment to democratic ideals. Mujib, Zia, and Ershad were leaders by their own capacities. Ineffective leadership by both Hasina and Khaleda led to mismanagement in government, abuse of power and authority, fear of dynastic leadership, politicization of major institutions of government, and a culture of corruption that in two decades completely permeated Bangladeshi society.