The defeat of Khalida Zia and her allies in the recently concluded Bangladesh elections once again proved that majority of Bengalis – either in West Bengali or Bangladesh – don’t believe in mixing religion with politics. Many in the community still have not been able to forget or forgive the division of Bengal on the basis of religion 61 years back. In 1971, the Bengali-speaking people rejected the fanatical philosophies of Pakistan and created their own motherland with help of India. Of course, many Bengalis would have wanted it to be a part of India. But that’s another story!
As columnist Deb Mukharji puts it, there were two key issues in the Bangladesh election this time. One was religion or as Zia and her Islamist friends called ‘the protection of Islam’. The second issue, as promoted by Sheikh Hasina and her allies, was development and poverty eradication. Victory of Hasina and allies with a two third majority gives a clear indication about the preference of the Bangladeshi people.