Millions of Bangladeshis to vote in general elections today

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Bangladeshi people came out today after their polling campaign was violated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina trying to stay for a third term in the face of her strict enemy Khaleda Zia, who was still in jail.

Mobile internet services are blocked by many of the main streets of the capital city as many people return to their villages to vote.

It is learned that millions of new voters are registered to vote in the fiercest first-ever polls in the South Asian country over the last decade.

The main opposition, the Bangladeshi National Party (BNP), boycotted the elections in 2014 claiming it was not free and fair.

Hasina’s Awami League party, which promises better economic and development, is expected to win.

BNP is still inhibited by the absence of its leader, former Prime Minister Zia, 74, who was jailed since February for corruption charges.

It however managed to unite the smaller party through the three-month National Unity coalition ahead of its election, but claimed its supporters and candidates faced violent and oppression attacks, including the shooting and arrest of party-led ruling campaigners. The army was also deployed nationwide.

Hasina’s leadership party denied all allegations and was very confident that the good record of the country’s economy would bring victory to him in the elections.

“The reason why Bangladeshis support the Awami League is very easy, economic development and improvement,” Hasina’s son, Sajeeb Wazed, told media at the prime minister’s residence last night.

The annual economic growth in Muslim-majority countries with 165 million residents rose to 7.8 per cent in the financial year 2017/18 compared to 5.1 per cent when Hasina began to take over in 2008/09.