• Tuesday, Jul 23, 2019
  • Last Update : 05:18 pm

Former exclave residents in Panchagarh, Lalmonirhat vote for the first time

New Bangladeshi citizens of the former exclaves
New Bangladeshi citizens of the former exclaves stand in line to cast their votes for the first time in Panchagarh on Sunday, December 30, 2018 Dhaka Tribune

Voters of former exclaves are joyous casting their votes as Bangladeshi citizens

New Bangladeshi citizens and residents of former exclaves in Panchagarh and Lalmonirhat have voted for the first time in 71 years exercised their rights, having voted in the Panchagarh 1, 2 and Lalmonirhat 1, 2 and 3 constituencies in Sunday’s general election.

Voters of the former exclaves expressed joy having cast their votes as Bangladeshi citizens.

In Panchagarh, they voted in the morning full of cheer. They said this is a big achievement for them and whoever comes to power should not forget about the residents of the former exclaves.

Shahidul Islam, 65, a former exclave resident, said: “I have never voted before. This is the first time I have learnt to vote.”

Taslim Uddin too, said: “I went to vote with my entire family in the morning and voted for the candidate of my choice without any trouble.”

District Election Official Ashraful Alam said: “There are 286 polling centres in the two constituencies of the district, where voting began at 8am.”

In Panchagarh 1, there are 1,025 voters in seven former exclaves, and Panchagarh 2, has 7,910 voters in the 29 former exclaves of the region.In Lalmonirhat, the exclave residents cast their vote peacefully in all three constituencies.

A new Bangladeshi citizen Nurjahan Begum after voting for the first time showed a victory sign in Lalmonirhat and said: “We were deprived of all such rights earlier, but now I am a citizen of Bangladesh and exercised my rights.”

Harun Miah, another new Bangladeshi and a first time voter said: “We used to live like gypsies in the exclaves and now we are citizens of Bangladesh.”

Lalmonirhat Sadar Upazila Presiding Officer Fazle Rabby said: “There are 450 voters of former exclaves out of the total 3,037 voters of the region.

Lalmonirhat Returning Officer Shafiul Arif said: “Votes were being cast peacefully and now the counting is going on.”