Friday, December 12, 2008

ELECTION 2008: gazing into the crystal ball.

… and they are off!

The JP-AL drama is over (at least this round); manajat at Shahjalal Mazaars are done; election manifesto has been announced on live TV; candidate lists finalised and CTG thrashed on Tritio Matra! The campaigns have started and in about 17 days we will have an election 26 months in the making.

Going into the elections I believe the conventional wisdom puts AL as the front-runner. But I have a different angle to this. BNP is not as weak as they are thought to be. Now that Ershad has decided to stay with the Mohajoth (a wise decision on his part) this election has boiled down to a head to head between AL vs. BNP. If we take the premise that a typical swing constituency in Bangladesh has about a 40% AL vote and the victory is secured by how the remaining 60% is divided, BNP is in a comfortable position indeed.

The Mohajoth deal will give JP, I calculate 10-15 extra seats. But I don’t think we can trust Ershad to be a man of his words. He will always be a joker in the pack and will horse-trade his MPs after the elections to find the best deal.

Another googly in the game is how rebel candidates will do in the polls. AL has got its fair share this time (usually not the case) as has BNP. End of the day these candidates will shape the outcome to a great degree.

As difficult as it might be, no armchair political analyst should get by without a prediction on the election outcome. So here is mine:

AL + allies (– JP) 120-130
JP 30-35
BNP + JI 135-145 (JI being about 15-20)
Bilakpa Dhara + allies 2
Independent + Others 7-10

And if I am right the next prediction I’d venture to make is that Ershad will jump ship after the election and support a Khaleda Zia cabinet in exchange for the Presidency.

But hope you’ll allow me to create one little caveat for myself. Till today Sylhet 1 constituency has been a bell weather seat. It has always elected the winner. This year two finance minister hopeful are in contention for that seat. Sylhet 1 map has been redrawn leaving the BNP favouring Companyganj out, resulting in a very tight race. Having visited there over the Eid holidays I tend to think that seat is leaning AL’s MA Muhit’s way. Only way Saifur Rahman can win it is if he pulls sympathy votes (being old and having a son in prison) by staying home and allowing his arch-rival Illiyas Ali to bring in the votes. (In exchange for vacating the seat to an Illiyas supporter in the by-elections)

This will no doubt be an interesting election to watch. There is going to be enough drama over the next few months to keep us all in business!


Anonymous said...

seems like your predictions gone totally wrong this time

Nazim Farhan Choudhury said...

Ah alas. Got it all wrong this time around! Egg on my face and all that!!

But I am glad that I was proven wrong and the nation was proven right!

Climberlife said...

Hey farhan
I am reading you for the first time..and I am verry impressed, without understanding though, with your gras, sweep and style. You sound like a pukka psephologist.

Anonymous said...

What an idiot! Wrong as always. Have you managed to take back Bangladesh. Once a traitor is always a traitor. It was a pity that you guys could not become the zaminders of Bangladesh. It was nice to see you not praising the CTG after your mom was kicked out of CTG. Shame on you. You cared for your family not bangladesh. Your mom was stupid and she was kicked out of CTG. You should have atleast thanked the CTG for making the jugantokari decision of kicking your mother out.

Are you all noinital-american educated STD's are bunch of idiots? You were writing about firiye ano bangladesh. Joy was writing against army and bangladesh. Now, Irad, what a bunch of [moderated]!

Now, I see you writing against daily star. What happend? They did not stand by your side. Did they use you like toilet papers?

shame! shame!

Nazim Farhan Choudhury said...

ah a critic! Great!

I agree! Got it wrong! As I accepted without hesitation. Oh did I not post my election day updates on this blog? I got to do that. For the sake of record at least. I was live blogging on Unheard Voices' blog. I'll correct that soon.

I don't want to get into specifics of what Irad or Joy is saying or had said. But both have a point of view on a topic and are bold enough to state it. It is up those opposing that view to argue against it. (with substantiated points and not like you with the intention of inflicting personal pain) Joy and Irad came out and said what they had to without hiding behind an Anonymous cover like you have Mr. Critic. I don't agree with either of their those particular views but I do agree that they need to have those. Only through discussion and debate will we know which is the right direction to take.

And you know what? I am upset that more of "my type" haven't gotten into Parliament or into leadership positions. We have had the privilege of education (though, in my case not American, as you have put forth), exposure and support. My generation - the Generation Bangladesh will change this country. You wait and see. Now either you are on board making positive contribution or stand behind a veil making unfounded accusations.

Specifically on the role of my mother in the CTG. I think she has a lot of success under her belt. At the same time she has failures. We can debate till the cows come in if she was "kicked out" or she resigned but that will not alter what either of us believe to be the truth. But if you have any specific on her role on the CTG please table them and I will be happy to debate it with you (or for that matter, anyone else)

In case of the CTG, I tend to lean towards your point of view. While the intention and the motives were correct, they over reached and failed to live up to the expectations that were put on them. (You are right I should write something about this! See you aren't a complete moron coward)

I have no idea what your point on Daily Star and toilet papers was? But I am sure it was profound!

End of everything all I have to say is dude if you have the guts to say the things that you have to say then we have some progress. Otherwise I am sorry you have to keep missing out of this thing known as the Theory of Evolution!

Anonymous said...

Why did generation Bangladesh suddenly stopped thinking about bangladesh after his mom was kicked out of CTG? He became such a low life that he was only writing criticizing advertisement made by other ad firms? We did not see him talk about Ayub style electoral college made of powerful union parisad chairmen.

As the election came nearer he again started forecasting, making AL MP friends so that he is safe when AL comes to power.

Theory of evolution does not apply to you at all. You are a chameleon. Ask youself, who survived? You will always be involved in conspiracy behind the scene and always loose. You are the unfaithful bunch. You will always think that you are the fittest but you are not. You will always loose. You are betrayers even though your family members were given the respect they deserved(so called). You uncle iftekhar was kicked here and there by AL in 1996-2001. He was given respect in 2001-2006. You morons decided to betray. you morons have stopped the economic progress bangladesh was making by inciting people, the young generation through your powerful conspiracy filled campaign in the media (You were used by papers like dailystar because the knew well that you are the fittest traitors and always be on the loosing side). For the next five years you will see, what you have done? You can do no good because you are betrayers.

Each piece of Bangladesh you will touch will become rotten.You will always try to take back bangladesh. You will end up taking Bangladesh decades back. This time you have takenBangladesh back to 1972-75.

Nazim Farhan Choudhury said...

Seriously what are you on about? So your argument for a better Bangladesh is Farhan is a "looser". Yipee all our problems solved. Come on if you have something positive to say about the country or how you'd like policy to take shape please do. If you only want to try and inflict personal insults don't bother. It doesn't do anything to me as you're the coward who is hiding behind the "Anonymous" cover and other then having the venom you keep spewing you don't have any arguement.

BTW for your information if you had read the post that you're commenting on you'll see I was (wrongly) predicting an AL defeat. Not a great way to warm up to the "AL MP friends"!

Anonymous said...

Either you were fools or you knowingly betrayed bangladesh as a whole. It is hard for me to believe that you really thought about Bangladesh atall at any moment time. If you had thought any good about the betterment of bangladesh, you could not side with traitors (people like mahfuz anam, motiur rahman, debo, rehman sobhan, mozaffar ahmed, bodiur etc.) Most of these people are inbuilt leftist. Very closely linked with india. With a powerful left leaning media presence in Bangladesh they are able to be vocal as they are. When they were given real responsibility to do something good for Bangladesh they failed. Debo as stock market advisor, rehman sobhan as planning commission chairman after independence, mozaffar as a ministerand so on. Motiur is more in love with badsha of rajshahi than bangladesh. Mahfuz anam is more in love with summit group than BANGLADESH.

You were such an idiot that you did not realize that why these people were opposing and wanted to destroy BNP.
1. Look east policy- BNP took that policy right after 2001 and wanted to make it a success. They wanted to have a strong road network through Mayanmer. They wanted to bring more produces/ products until Bangladesh become sufficient in food production/ industrial development in order to lessen dependence on India (Very unfaithful to all its neighbors). USA wants all its neighbors to be strong militarily so that they are good enough to protect themselves and USa. On the otherhand India wants weak neighbors so that they can do dadagiri and exploit the neighbouring markets. Bangladesh wanted to bring investment from east asian countries who are more honest parters than Indians. Why do you think There were no prime ministerial level visits between Bangladesh and India until the end of 2005. Why do you think indian prime minister refused to visit bangladesh first time. If it was really the terrorist issue he would not have visited the second time.
2. Bangladesh also refused to sign FTA agreement with India. A world bank report in 2004/2005 said it will not help Bangladesh at all.
3. Why do you think Bangladesh in 2005 took the decision to upgrade the Dhaka-chittagong highway to be 4-lane.
4. Why do think Bangladesh in 2004/5 started to strenghthen relationship with Mayanmar and construct a road between Bangladesh and mayanmar.
5. why do you thing Tata wanted to come to Bangladesh? 4-lane Dhaka-chittagong High way, proposed subway system, proposed 50000 crore greater Dhaka Road network improvement project all in the pipeline back in 2005 ring any bell?
6. Why did daily star tried so hard to stop 14 power plant project taken in 2005 and under pressure govt. had to stop all those and decided to wait for the next elected government. Is Summit group too important than Bangladesh?

There are lot of other issues. Either you are an stupid or you are very much faithful to india where you had your early education. You deserve to be personally insulted. what do you expect when you are such an idiot. Thats why I said earlier, every piece of Bangladesh motherland you touch you make that part of beautiful motherland rotten.

Should I thank you for making all the successful ministers(5/6) of that time look like villains? And, you were party to or were in support of the traitors and foolish betrayers(unfaithful and unthankful).
I dont know how on earth you can repent the sins that you have committed. May Allah bless you.

Anonymous said...

>> BNP + JI 135-145 (JI being about 15-20)

Your prediction was totally wrong. I really started thinking negative about you seeing 15-20 for JI in your prediction. Why do you bear such a big positive thought about JI? Also BNP was not eligible for 50+ seats after all the bad rulings in their last 2001-2006 term. Is it only bcoz you are BNP (right wing) sided person?

Please reply.

Best regards.

Nazim Farhan Choudhury said...

Anon: You're absolutely right. I got it all wrong.

My calculation was based on the old electoral mathematics. That is by using data from previous polls and trying to extrapolate who will win. That unfortunately assumes two things. One that there is a considerable vote bank that each of the parties enjoy and will ensure people will still vote according to party loyalties. Secondly it doesn't take into account any other new factors.

2008 elections changed the election mathematics in Bangladesh. Between the resentment of voters to the ills of the previous BNP government, the rise of the young voters and the issue of 1971 war crimes, the pillars of my prediction crumbled.

As I said before. I was wrong and the nation was right. That is after all why we have actual process of elections and don't leave it to researchers and opinion pollers! :)

BTW the exercise that I did was purely academic. It is what I thought would be the probable outcome of the polls. It no way indicates or argues that was the outcome I wanted. There is a distinct difference between the two. One between what I think will happen and what I want to happen.

Not that I wanted it not to happen either. This piece isn't intended to take sides but rather state what I had assumed (of course it turned out - wrongly) the results of the Elections.

Personally I would have wanted a AL victory without the need of support from the JP and a comfortable presence of BNP in the Jatiya Sangsad.

To touch on the last point you made. Am I a" BNP / right wing person". Well yes, my politics is right of centre and my economics is very right. But I'd like to make two points:

1. if you look at the manifestos or the articulated positions of the two main political party in Bangladesh they are almost identical. Hence to say one is right and the other left is not really correct.

2. I do not think the BNP today reflects the original intent of the party. It is without leadership, original thought or possible solutions to the nation's needs.

I am today I think a political being without a home!