United Front Elections of 1954 in East Pakistan

Topics: East Bengal, A. K. Fazlul Huq, Political party Pages: 9 (2653 words) Published: March 14, 2012
United Front Elections |

Table of Contents

2Background of United Front1
3Formation of United Front2
3.1Constituent Parties2
The Awami Muslim League (AML)2
Krishak Sramik Party (KSP)3
Nizam-i-Islam Party (NIP)3
Ganatantri Dal (GD)3
4Key People4
AK Fazlul Huq (1873-1962)4
Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy (1892-1963)4
Bhasani, (Maulana) Abdul Hamid Khan (1880-1976)5

lIST OF TableS
Table 1 East Pakistan Provincial Assembly Election Results 19547
Table 2 Strength of Parties within United Front7

United Front Elections
The United Front was a coalition of political parties from East Pakistan. This coalition was composed of four political parties of East Bengal, namely Awami Muslim League, Krishak Sramik Party, Nezam-e-Islam and Ganatantri Dal. The Front was formed on 4 December 1953 by the initiative of AK Fazlul Huq of Krishak Sramik Party, Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani and Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy of Awami Muslim League [ (Khan, n.d.) ]. The coalition was formed to fight against the Muslim League in the East Bengal Legislative Assembly Elections in 1954. The alliance was termed as the ‘Jukta Front’ and formulated the Ekush Dafa, or 21-point Charter as the election manifesto. This alliance was heterogeneous and different positions of parties on political chessboard made it a difficult and complex arrangement. But allies’ strategy proved so effective that they routed the League in elections. Background of United Front

The foundation of United Front was based mainly on the failure of the Muslim League as a ruling party, and other historical, political and economic reasons. The general elections to the East Pakistan legislative assembly due in 1951 could not be held until 1954. Several postponements of the elections under various pretexts only proved malicious motives, organizational weaknesses and vulnerability of the ruling party, Muslim League [ (Ahmed, n.d.) ]. The foundation of United Front can be summarized in the following points: * Failure of Muslim League to accommodate political aspirants to play their role in national politics. * Deprivation of East Pakistani politicians from participating in the decision-making process. * Heavy interference of the administration in provincial elections. * Oppressive position of the Muslim League against the peoples of East Pakistan. Formation of United Front

The opposition forces of Muslim League realized that by contesting elections on separate platforms, they would dissipate each others’ resources and thus pave the way for League’s victory. Ruling party’s pressure and fear of its repressive measures to eliminate the opposition also worked as a factor in formation of the United Front. In the election of West Pakistan Awami Muslim League (AML) was not given a level playing field. This persuaded the East Pakistani leaders of other parties to form an electoral alliance with AML and pool their resources together to avoid the repetition of what had happened in West Pakistan. The decision to form a united front was initially endorsed on 14 November 1953 at the historic council session of the Awami League held at Mymensingh [ (Ahmed, n.d.) ]. Subsequently, the Front for a while dominated the political landscape of East Bengal and had its usefulness as an effective political platform to unite diverse political group. Constituent Parties

When the Central Government of Pakistan had finally decided to hold general elections for the East Bengal Legislative Assembly in early 1954, hectic political activities spread out in the province. Political parties began mending their fences, preparing their manifestoes and touring the province for electioneering purposes. The parties that challenged the League’s authority by forging the United Front were as follow: The Awami Muslim League (AML): The...
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