441,224 voters are eligible to vote during this election slated for October 5
Most of the six candidates in the Rangpur 3 by-polls started electioneering on Tuesday after receiving their respective electoral symbols from the returning officer.
Rangpur Regional Election Officer and Returning Officer GM Shahtab Uddin allocated the symbols among the candidates at the conference room of his office in the city’s Kacharibazar area on Tuesday afternoon.
He had warned the candidates that any violation of the election code of conduct would draw strict action from the Election Commissioner and law enforcement agencies.
Jatiya Party (JaPa) candidate Rahgir Al Mahi Saad Ershad, son of late HM Ershad, was allocated the plough and BNP candidate Rita Rahman the sheaf of paddy.
The car was allocated to independent aspirant Hossain Mokbul Shahriar Asif, a rebel JaPa candidate and nephew of late Ershad, while the mango was given to National People Party candidate Shafiul Alam.
Also, Gano Front candidate Muhammad Shahidullah was allocated the fish and Khelafat Majlish aspirant Tauhidur Rahman Mandal Raju the wall clock.
Of them, only Saad Ershad did not come to the returning officer’s office to receive the electoral symbol personally.
After getting their symbols, most of the contenders and their supporters kicked off election campaigns by bringing out processions and visiting houses of voters.
Awami League has decided to not field a candidate in this election and extended its support to JaPa’s Saad Ershad, which did not sit well with most of the local leaders and activists of the ruling party.
After receiving the symbol on Tuesday, BNP’s Rita expressed scepticism about seeing a free and fair election come October 5, saying: “EVMs can be used to alter the results. We have already seen such incidents in previous elections.”
“Still, I am hoping for a fair voting, as this is not the election to elect a new government,” she added.
Independent runner Asif said people of Rangpur will reject Saad Ershad “because he is an outsider.”
He said locals were supporting him and expressed hope that they will elect him even though he is not contesting with electoral symbol plough — which is JaPa’s own electoral symbol as a registered political party.
The by-polls at a glance
The Rangpur 3 parliamentary constituency, which fell vacant after the death of JaPa founder Ershad in July, is scheduled to go to polls on October 5.
According to the returning officer, a total of 441,224 voters are eligible to cast their votes. Of them, 220,823 voters are men and 220,401 voters are women.
Voting will be held using electronic voting machines at all 1,023 booths of 175 polling centres across the constituency between 9am and 5pm.
A total of 3,244 election officials, including 175 presiding officers and 3,069 assistant presiding officers and polling officers, will conduct the balloting process.
Apart from the six contesting candidates, three others — Awami League’s Rezaul Karim Razu, BNP’s Kawser Zaman Babla and Ekramul Haque of Bangladesh Congress — had submitted nomination papers earlier.
During the scrutiny, the nomination papers of Babla and Ekramul were cancelled.
Razu also withdrew his bid on Monday following his party’s wishes, as the ruling party decided to throw its support behind the JaPa candidate.