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Dhaka Tribune

CEC: 15-20% voter turnout in by-polls to 6 JS seats left vacant by BNP

He said the commission did not receive information of any remarkable irregularities or vote rigging

Update : 01 Feb 2023, 07:56 PM

Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal on Wednesday said the average voter turnout in the by-election in six parliamentary seats may be 15% to 20%.

"The average voter turnout in the election may be 15% to 20%.  It is our assumption, but not final. Though the presence of the voters was low in the polling stations, discipline was maintained at the voting centres during by-election," he said.

He made the remarks while talking to journalists after monitoring the by-polls at Election Commission Bhaban in the capital's Agargaon.

He said the EC collected the updated information from the local administration and the media while monitoring the election. 

He also said they did not receive information of any remarkable irregularities or vote rigging so far.

No untoward incident took place in today's by-elections. In that aspect, the election has been successful and peaceful”, said Habibul Awal.

He also appreciated the role of district administration and police saying that they performed their duties with professionalism till now.

"We have not received any complaints. We rely on the local administration as they extend their full support to make the election successful," he said.

Voting began at 8:30am and continued till 4:30pm in the by-polls to the six parliamentary seats — left vacant due to resignation by BNP MPs as part of their anti-government movement.

The six constituencies which went to poll are: Thakurgaon-3, Bogra-4 and 6, Chapainawabganj-2, 3 and Brahmanbaria-2.

Electronic voting machines (EVMs) were used in the voting. However, no CCTV cameras were installed in the polling centres. Forty candidates competed in the 6 constituencies.

In Chapainawabganj, a chase and counter-chase happened between supporters of two candidates at the District Ideal High School Centre around 9 am, witnesses said.

A scuffle took place between the supporters of independent candidate Samiul Haque Liton and Awami League backed candidate Abdul Wadud at the polling station -- triggering a chase and counter-chase, said Additional Superintendent of Chapainawabganj Police, Abul Kalam Shaheed.

However, police brought the situation under control. A crude bomb was seized from the spot.

Voting in the by-election for Brahmanbaria-2 (Sarail-Ashuganj) constituency went on peacefully amid low voter turnout till filing of this report around noon.

Abu Asif Ahmed, an expelled leader of BNP and an independent candidate, has remained missing since Friday.

Some 1,100 police have been deployed at the polling stations while four platoons of BGB members, nine teams of RAB, nine mobile teams of police, and four striking teams were also performing their duties to maintain the law-and-order situation.

The constituencies have a total of 22,55,217 voters eligible to cast ballots at 867 polling centres.

Meanwhile, the government announced a public holiday on Wednesday in the election areas on the occasion of the by-elections.

Earlier on December 10, 2022 at a public rally, parliamentarians of BNP announced their resignation from the JS. 

The next day, on December 11, Chapainawabganj-2 lawmaker Md Aminul Islam, Bogra-4 lawmaker Md. Mosharraf Hossain, Bogra-6 lawmaker Golam Mohammad Siraj, and Thakurgaon-3 lawmaker Zahidur Rahman resigned from the parliament.

Two other BNP lawmakers — Advocate Abdus Sattar of Brahmanbaria-2 constituency and Harun-or-Rashid of Chapainawabganj-3 — resigned from the parliament later.

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