voter-less election in Mehendiganj
Anisur Rahman Swapan
Voting in Mehendiganj upazila parishad election going on without presence of voters and amid boycotting election by non- Awami Leaguer candidates on Sunday.
Jamaat E Islami Bangladesh exempted the Mehendiganj upazila from their Hartal programme by issuing a press release on Saturday and JIB backed candidate Saifur Rahman with spectacle symbol contesting for male vice president post in the UZP election.
Five out of 12 candidates contesting in Mehendiganj upazila parishad election holding separate press conferences at Mehendiganj Press Club at 10:30 AM Sunday announced their decision of boycotting election alleging rigging, capturing vote centers and spreading terrorism and panic in the area by ruling party backed candidates and biased role of election, administration and law enforcing officials.
The supporters of election boycotting candidates also held demonstrations at Patarhut Bandar area demanding cancellation of voting and holding free fair election immediately.
The election boycotting candidates were UZ chairman candidates Syed Rafikul Islam Labu ( BNP supported with Ananas symbol) , Mjor (Rtd.) Nasiruddin Khan ( Islami Andolan Bangladesh with tea cup-plate symbol) , Golam Wahid Harun ( independent with Motorcycle symbol) ). male vice-chairman candidate Abdul Jabbar Kanon (rebel AL candidate with Lock symbol) and female vice-chairman candidate Munmun Aktar Boby ( BNP supported with Football symbol).
Md. Dulal Talukdar, district election officer and returning officer of the election, claimed the voting going on free and fairly and they yet not received any formal allegation against that.
AKM Ehsan Ullah, district police superintendent, said sufficient numbers of Army, BGB, Coast Guard, RAB, Police and Ansar personal deployed in the area to maintain law and order to hold a free fair election and none submitted any formal allegation till filling this report.
However local journalists during visiting the area found that vote centers were almost vacant and a few number of minor-aged non voters and election workers wearing badges of different candidates standing on queues outside and engaged in rigging by stamping of ballots entering inside the polling booths supporting the AL backed candidates.
Advocate Monsur Ahmed (with inkpot-pen symbol for chairman post), Khorshed Alam Vulu (with Aeroplane symbol for male vice chairman post), Roman Binte Shafikul Islam Roman (with lotus symbol for female vice chairman post), contesting as AL backed candidates in this UZP election.
No election agents of opponent candidates were found in the vote centers and more than 40 percent vote shown as cast in the vote centers within first two hours of the election day.
River isolated Mehendiganj upazila has total 1,85, 579 voters under 13 unions and one municipality with 74 vote centers including 55 under Mehendiganj and 19 Kazirhut police stations.
Total 12 candidates including 4 candidates for chairman, 3 for male vice chairman and 5 for female vice chairman posts, contesting in the election, district election office sources said.
Edited By: Amader Barisal Desk