1954 East Bengal Legislative Assembly election

1954 East Bengal Legislative Assembly election

Election to the East Bengal provincial council was held in March 1954.The total seats in the provincial council were 309. In 1953, Jukta Front alliance was formed by Awami League with like-minded political parties so as to counter the ruling Muslim League. After Language movement in 1952, the Jukta Front victory in 1954 elections enhanced the political consciousness of the citizens of East Bengal.

Prior to the election the Jukta Front had adopted a 21-point program to attract the voters with things like the political, economic, social and cultural rights of Bangali citizens, recognition of Bangla as one of the state languages of Pakistan, building the Shahid Minar so as to commemorate the language martyrs, surplus land distribution among the landless, nationalization of Jute business and complete autonomy for East Bengal according to Lahore Resolution. These demands were directly related to the establishment of citizen rights of the people of East Bengal. In this election, the Jukta Front won 223 seats out of 237. On the other side, Muslim League, the spokesman of the Pakistan, movement won only 9 seats.

After the 1954 elections the Jukta Front Ministry was formed with Sher-e-Bangla Fazlul Haq as the Chief Minister. The Pakistani ruling elites could not accept the defeat of Muslim League to the Jukta Front. The Jukta Front Ministry was sacked in just 56 days and Governor's rule was established in East Bengal.

After nine years of liberation in 1956, the first constitution of pakistan was framed. In it some of the demands of Bangalis were met along with recognition of Bangla as one of the state languages. But it did not work for long. It was annulled by General Iskander Mirza on 7 October in 1958. He declared Martial Law all over the country.

In the next three weeks, General Ayub Khan took over power by removing Iskander Mirza. He introduced 'Basic Democracy' rejecting Western democracy based on universal adult franchise.

General Ayub Khan declared 'Basic Democracy Order' on 26 October in 1959. According to this provision, 40,000 from each part of Pakistan altogether 80,000 Union Council members formed Electoral College for the country. This Electoral College was to elect President, members of the Provincial and National Assemblies. By this system, indirect method of election deprived the citizens of the direct voting rights.

The indirect method of election deprived the popular politicians of East Bengal of being elected under basic democracy. Moreover, black acts adopted by Ayub government made popular politicians abstain from participation in elections. During Ayub regime, separate Bangali identity became consolidated.

In 1962, General Ayub gave a self-styled constitution. In this constitution, instead of the provisions for parliamentary form of government and regional autonomy, presidential form of government was introduced. President was made the centre of this system and one man's rule with unlimited powers was established. From the take-over of Pakistan's state power in 1958, General Ayub continued military rule until June 1962. He ruled the country for 44 months at a stretch by Martial law. Political parties and their activities, meetings and gatherings were completely banned. He kept 78 popular politicians including Hussa in Shaheed Suhrawardy away from taking part in elections under a black law.

In 1962 Sharif Education Commission Report included the recommendations for compulsory study of English from class VI to the Degree level, making Urdu as language of people and attempt to introduce the roman alphabet for national language. In this case the Report considered the acceptability of Arabic, writing Pakistani languages with the help of Roman letters, bearing the cost of education by the students, upgrading Degree course into three year. Students rejected this report and started movement.

During Ayub's military regime, political activities were completely banned. At that time, some newspapers like the Daily Ittefaq played a laudable and strong role against the military rule. As a result, steps were taken to gag the voice of these newspapers. In September, 1959, the editor and owner of the most popular newspaper in East Bengal, The Daily Ittefaq, Tofazzal Hossain (Manik Mia) was arrested. In 1962 and 1966 also, he was arrested twice.

In the beginning of Pakistan, East Bengal was economically much better than the Western part. But it did not last long. Gradually the differences between the two wings began to increase.

For rapid economic development of Pakistan, General Ayub adopted many policies. These policies increased the regional disparity instead of reducing it. In April 1968, the Chief Economist of Pakistan Planning Commission Mr. Mahbubul Haque released information that 66% industries, 79% insurance and 80% bank assets were concentrated only in the hands of 22 families (all these families were West Pakistanis except one). During Ayub's decade-long rule, a huge amount of foreign aid was received. The lion's share of this aid was spent in West Pakistan. The capital was siphoned off from Eastern part of Pakistan to the Western part.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post