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Dhaka Tribune

Madaripur-3: Voting suspended in a centre amid ballot stamping allegations

Allegations fuelled after Madaripur-3 MP visited that particular voting centre

Update : 07 Jan 2024, 03:52 PM

Voting has been temporarily suspended at a polling center in Madaripur’s Kalkini upazila due to allegations of openly filling ballot boxes with seals, especially after the visit of the constituency’s MP.

The voting centre at Dakshin Ramzanpur Government Primary School Center was closed from 11:30am.

The presiding officer of the center Alamgir Mridha confirmed the matter.

Police, BGB and the executive magistrate rushed to the spot after receiving the news.

Kamrul Hasan, executive magistrate in charge of the centre, said, "Sensing trouble in the centre, we rushed to the spot. The situation is calm. Polling at the center has been stopped for the time being. When the UNO comes then further decisions will be taken.”

Dakshin Ramzanpur Government Primary School polling station and local sources said that Abdus Sobhan Golap, MP and candidate of Awami League boat, came to this center around 11:30am.

At that time, 20-25 supporters of Golap forcefully removed independent candidate Tahmina Begum's polling agents soon after the MP arrived at the centre.

Sources also said that then they started stamping on the ballot paper with the boat symbol, alleging that boat polling agent Dulal Bapari started sealing the ballot papers.

After that, the presiding officer in charge of the centre temporarily stopped polling in the center when the tension started between the two sides.

Boat polling agent Dulal Bapari claimed that he did not do anything, and denied knowing about the polling agents of other candidates.

Independent candidate Tahmina Begum complained that her agent was being kicked out and sealed in public.

“The MP is ruining the polling environment. I request the administration to look into the matter strictly,” she alleged.

Presiding officer Alamgir Mridha said that there are 2,619 voters in this center, and 200 votes had been cast till 10:00am.

“After the MP (Abdus Sobhan Golap) came to the centre, trouble arose after the MP called Dulal Bepari, a polling agent of his party. Later, when I tried to stop Dulal, he threatened to stop me from voting. Later a police sub-inspector put his hands on him. After that, when tension arose, we temporarily closed the centre. I informed the UNO. When he comes then the next decision will be taken.”

Asked about sealing the ballots forcibly, he denied witnessing the sealing.

Madaripur-3 assistant returning officer Uttam Kumar Das said that the Ramzanpur polling station has been temporarily closed due to irregularities.

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