Bangladesh's elections are a turning point

Our readers have their say on Bangladesh's January vote, a new Covid-19 variant and on living in a peaceful society

Posters of the election candidates hanging over a street ahead of the 2024 general elections, in Dhaka on December 26. AFP
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Bangladesh's elections are a turning point

With regard to Johann Chacko's op-ed Easy victory for the government in Bangladesh's election would still come at a steep cost (December 21): The upcoming national election is a hot topic in Bangladesh. There is no end to people's enthusiasm around the 12th National Assembly elections on January 7, with 27 parties in the fray. By nature, Bengalis are a celebratory people, so there is plenty of jubilation in the country. What is regrettable, however, is that the country has also seen boycotts and people resorting to arson and anarchy to prevent the elections being held peacefully.

The world is playing another geopolitical game with America threatening sanctions with baseless allegations of rigging. But Bangladesh is an independent sovereign nation. We are not beholden to anyone; we will make our own decisions as we transition from a low-income country to a middle-income country. Sheikh Hasina has announced the outline of Smart Bangladesh by 2041. Bangladesh is going to reach the level of a developed country by 2039.

Bangladesh is now self-sufficient in food. The garments and manpower sectors are increasing foreign exchange earnings. The progress that Bangladesh has made is evident, not least of all in infrastructure projects such as the metro rail in Dhaka, railway lines and elevated expressways etc. The country is also gradually moving towards digitalisation.

Even in the midst of various problems and crises, we have faith that the country will move forward by conducting this inclusive election peacefully. All voters must behave responsibly so that voting can be fair and impartial.

Anup Sinha, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Grateful for peace at home

With reference to the report Thousands of worshippers attend Christmas services in Abu Dhabi and Dubai (December 25): We are very blessed, privileged and thankful to live in such a diverse society in a harmonious community and with tolerance and respect towards all.

Chantelle Marsh, Abu Dhabi

A new variant of Covid-19 necessitates precautions

With reference to Bibhudatta Pradhan's report India detects JN.1 Covid variant in Kerala as case numbers rise (December 19): This was an alarming read. More than two and half years after the entire planet was threatened by the coronavirus, and after the great relief of it being finally behind us, the news of resurgent variants seems ominous.

My home state of Karnataka, which has a southern border with Kerala, has taken precautionary measures that provide relief to citizens such as myself.

People of all ages should be careful but senior citizens especially should wear masks wherever they go just to be safe. It used to be part of our daily drill when stepping out two years ago. There's no harm in taking extra precautions. Such measures are more beneficial as people in winter are quite often down with the usual coughs and colds.

The slight inconvenience of wearing a mask while commuting or travelling is worth the trouble when you think of the consequences of not wearing one.

K Ragavan, Bengaluru, India

Published: December 29, 2023, 3:00 AM