Uncontested polls frustrate first-time voters
Muktasree Chakma Sathi , Mohammad Zakaria

A total of 153 candidates have no competitors and consequently 48,103,069 voters cannot exercise their franchises this time

  • File photo: Voters waiting in a polling station, to cast their vote in the mayoral elections 
    Photo- Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Young voters who cannot exercise their franchise, as candidates in their constituencies are likely to be declared uncontested, expressed their frustration.

The Election Commission is likely to announce names of 153 candidates winning the upcoming 10th national parliamentary election unopposed as those seats have single contestants.

As the main opposition BNP and some other parties are not taking part in the January 5 election, a total of 153 candidates have no competitors and consequently 48,103,069 voters cannot exercise their franchises this time.

According to the EC data, a total of 10,908,974 people have been enrolled as voters after 2008. Of them, 6,957,946 were youths only in the year of 2012-2013. The total number of voters in the country currently stands at 91,965,977.

As many as  389 candidates will contest for 147 constituencies while 43,862,908 voters will enjoy their rights to vote. In the ninth parliamentary national election of 2008, a total of 70,012,191 votes were cast including 381,924 “no votes.”

The youths of the country played a significant role in electing the government in 2008. Such contribution of the youth was also addressed in the 2014 election manifesto of the Awami League.

EC Assistant Secretary Syed Rashed told the Dhaka Tribune: “Around 40 lakh young voters will be able to cast their votes. But, around 60 lakh first-time voters particularly the youths, however, will not be able to cast their votes as the constituencies have single candidates.”

When asked about his feeling, 23-year-old Sabuj from Nilphamari 2 constituency said: “I am not feeling good as I know who is going to win.”

Referring to recent media reports on lawmakers who have amassed huge wealth illegally in the last five years, Osman from Chittagong 7 responded: “The same corrupt people are going to be our lawmakers for the next five years in most of these 153 seats. The frustrating part is that we are not even given the chance to show them that we do not want them.”

Many young voters also said they were uncertain about polls in their constituencies.

SM Tareque, voter of Dhaka 7 constituency, said: “Will the election be held in my constituency? I do not even know this. I wish it were held without any untoward incidents. Things got complicated as soon as I became a voter.”

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