Wednesday, June 19, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Hasan: Low voter turnout is normal in by-polls

The elections will be more competitive if all political parties including BNP take part in the polls, says the information minister

Update : 17 Jul 2023, 08:05 PM

Information and Broadcasting Minister and Awami League Joint General Secretary Dr Hasan Mahmud on Monday said it is very usual of low turnout of votes in a by-poll which is held just five months ahead of the national election.

“Voter turnout is always low in by-elections in any country. It is also the same in our country. In the USA, no candidate contests in the poll many times, when by-polls are held five to six months before the general elections. Many candidates are elected unopposed,” he said, replying to a query of reporters at the meeting room of the ministry at secretariat.

He said the recent city corporations polls were held very competitively and the average voter turnout was 50% in many places despite BNP's call for boycotting those elections. The elections will be more competitive if all political parties including BNP take part in the polls, he noted.

Replying to a query over the of allegation of independent candidate Ashraful Hossen Alom (Hero Alom) of Dhaka-17 constituency, Dr Hasan said anyone can raise allegation. 

But at first, it must be verified and the Election Commission should investigate into the allegation, he added.

He said some persons become candidates to raise such allegations and to get publicity.

It is a question what is their motive, whether they really want to contest or they want publicity, he remarked. 

Replying to another question about a meeting between European Union delegation and Sushasoner Jonno Nagorik (SHUJAN) where they alleged that fair elections are not possible in the present situation, the information minister said the size of civil society is big. 

The persons who are telling these are very small part of the civil society and they do not represent the whole society, he added.

So, their (SHUJAN) statement is not the speech of the country's civil society, Dr Hasan continued.

He said: “Discussions were held with the EU delegation with us. But there were no discussion over caretaker or polls-time government issues. The polls will be held under the Election Commission (EC) as per the constitution.”

He said the EC is much stronger and it has been proved in recent elections and the commission did not care the government. 

The EC would not cancel the Gaibandha-5 poll if the government had any control over the commission, he said.

About BNP's political programs, the information minister said they met with foreign diplomats and held meetings. 

The EU ambassador has clearly told them that strikes and blockades have weakened democracy. If they have commonsense, they would not go for any further destructive program, he added. 

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