With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition coming to power in India in May 2014, the issue of illegal immigration from Bangladesh has come to the forefront once again. However, the fear is whether the debate over the issue will shed more light, leading to the resolution of the problem, or whether it will simply degenerate into political rivalry and polarisation. Illegal immigration figured prominently in the run-up to the 2014 parliamentary elections and was often raised by one of the leading political parties, the BJP.
Realising the electoral significance of the issue the Congress seems to be engaging in a competitive politics with the BJP by talking of giving citizenship to even those migrants who came to India after 1971 but were persecuted in Bangladesh.
The Awami League government may not have done everything right in the last five years, but it has done commendable work by South Asian standards. The Bangladesh economy has grown consistently at about six per cent and the government has done well to contain the extremist forces.
The emergence of the third political candidate Qasim Ibrahim of the Jumhoory Party has made the present political landscape in Maldives intensely competitive and antagonistic with petitions and counter allegations over the election process. This in all possibility might lead to a long period of political instability.
The Maldives presidential runoff election has been postponed indefinitely further widening the political dispute. The uncertainty highlights the challenges the young democracy faces, having held its first-ever multiparty election in 2008.
President Waheed has opted for an early election, which is scheduled for September 7. Despite reservations expressed by many political parties, the election process is truly underway that could restore democracy in the country.
It was expected that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Dhaka in September 2011 would transform India–Bangladesh relations. However, this did not happen as India could not sign the Teesta water sharing agreement, the biggest deliverable of the visit. It also made some people brand West Bengal (Paschimbanga) Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as a spoiler.
The war crime trials should be taken to their logical conclusion to create a precedent that will discourage the extremist and radical elements. But the government must also act swiftly to maintain law and order so that the situation is not used by extra-constitutional forces to thwart the whole exercise.