Modi Congratulates Bangladesh's Sheikh Hasina on 'Decisive' Poll Victory

Hasina’s Awami League has won 259 seats in the 300-seat parliament.

New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina for her “decisive” victory in the parliamentary elections, with New Delhi terming the polls as a reaffirmation of the “vision of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman”.

According to the latest results, the ruling party, Hasina’s Awami League has won 259 seats – 80% – in the 300-seat parliament. This is more than the 234 seats the Awami League obtained in the 2014 elections, which was boycotted by the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

Over 66% of voters turned out for the elections on Sunday, which was marked by a string of violent incidents which left around 18 dead.

The Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement here that Modi called Hasina on Monday morning to convey “his heartiest congratulations on the decisive results of the election”.

Modi expressed confidence that relations between India and Bangladesh would continue to flourish under Hasina’s “far-sighted leadership”, the press note stated.

“PM also reiterated the priority India attaches to Bangladesh as a neighbour, a close partner for regional development, security and cooperation, and a central pillar in India’s “Neighbourhood First” policy,” it added.

Welcoming the “successful completion” of the poll, India also congratulated Bangladeshis for “reaffirming their faith in democracy, development and the vision of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman”.

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Acknowledging that Modi was the first foreign leader to convey congratulations, Hasina appreciated his reiteration of India’s commitment to support Bangladesh’s development, as per the MEA press release.

“The conversation was very cordial, fully reflecting the close and traditionally friendly relations between India and Bangladesh,” said the communique.

India’s Election Commission had sent a three-member observer delegation to the polls. According to the Bangla Tribune, the head of the Indian delegation, West Bengal chief electoral officer Ariz Aftab gave a clean-chit on the fairness of the elections.

There was a similar green light from the international observer missions from SAARC and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

While international observers were satisfied with the arrangements, local media reported on the widespread absence of polling agents from opposition parties at the polling centres.

The Daily Star reported that “Polling agents of neither the BNP nor its allies were seen in 196 polling centres visited by our correspondents in Dhaka city and 250 centres in 25 districts.”

Another newspaper, Dhaka Tribune claimed that several polling centres had individuals who were ‘posing’ as polling agents of the BNP-led Oikya Front.

The opposition alliance rejected the results of the 11th parliamentary elections and called for fresh polls.