Controversy over voters’ turnout


The stage managed election of the government is over and the Election Commission
(EC) has claimed that 39 percent people have voted in the polls leaving the people to wonder how come it happened when most of the polling centers across the country produced a deserted look throughout the election-day.
Meanwhile a functionary of Fair Election Monitoring Alliance (FEMA) in a TV remark said he believed the turnout were around 10 percent. A director of the National Human Rights Commission also claimed in a statement that the turnout was around 10 percent and it can’t be accepted as an election.
Moreover, the major opposition BNP and its allies has said the voters turn out was between 3 to 5 percent because people have rejected the polls. So the claim made by the EC has raised questions about the credibility of the figure in contrast to claims made by others.
News reports said voters turn out to at least 64 election centers around the country
were zero while in many others it was varying from several persons to several dozens in the polling day. Then how the EC figure skyrocketed is the question.
News report said, it was rigged at many polling centers at the later part of the day. A news report said at Noyagaon polling center of Noorpur Union of Habigonj district, all 2,600 votes were cast making it hundred percent.
At Habigonj Staff Quarter polling center, Polling Officer Bithirani Sen was found sealing the ballot papers when the photographer of a national daily visited the center. The photographer came under attack of the ruling party cadres but escape unhurt.
Reports said at Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Peergonj constituency over 70 percent votes were cast. But a report published in a daily said in three Rangpur constituencies, voters turnout were 15 to 16 percent; At the Prime Minister’s constituency it was around 3 percent at 1.00 PM but it shot up to 70 percent at 4.00 pm.
At Dhulgari High School center out of 2,300 votes, only 85 votes were cast at around 1 PM. But some local party cadres then entered the center and sealed the ballot papers to raise it to 77 percent level, the polling officer reportedly said.
On the other hand, Jatiya Party chairman HM Ershad lost the polls with 7,820 votes to his Awami League rival Motahar Hossein who pocketed 107276 votes at Lalmonirhat -1 constituency although he won at a different constituency.
Report said at Uttara from where former minister Shahera Khatoon contested, voters were almost absent throughout the day. At around 3 PM as news report said, the presiding officer went out of the center and asked some people to come in. They rushed in started to seal the ballot papers. She won the election with a high margin.
At St Joseph School, cadres of Jatiya Party nominee Feroz Rashid who contested the polls under seat sharing arrangement reportedly rigged the votes ignoring the objections of the presiding officer.
At Sathia, the son of the state minister for Home Shamsul Islam Tuku had rigged the votes running from center to center with a group of party men. The irony is that they did not attend the local polling center where Tuku’s rival former state minister for Information and Awami League rival candidate Prof Abu Sayed defeated him by winning more votes.
At Nalitabari in Sherpur, workers of Awami League leader Motiya Chowdhury have also reportedly resorted to massive rigging. In protest, her rival from her won party withdrew from the contest at the mid-day.
Reports about massive rigging and false votes are abundant and the EC’s percentage of the actual voters’ turnout has become controversial in the situation.