BNP-backed chairman candidate of Daudkandi Upazila election Abul Hashem Sarkar on Saturday boycotted the election, much like the boycott of BNP-backed candidates during the Dhaka and Chittagong city corporation elections on April 28, alleging capture of polling stations and vote-rigging, reports UNB. Abul Hashem, at a press conference at his residence, announced his decision to withdraw from the race at noon, hours after polling got underway.
He demanded fresh elections following cancellation of the one held today. His election agent Masum Reza, election coordinator Mostak Ahmed and Jubo Dal district unit leader Mosharraf Hossain were present as he made his announcement. Masum Reza told UNB that his candidate withdrew from the election having failed to elicit any response to repeated complaints of electoral fraud from the returning officer, which presumably exposed the rigging afoot with officials’ cooperation.
“We lodged a number of complaints to the returning officer, but got no response to stop the vote rigging and occupation of polling centres,” he said. Meanwhile, BNP-supported vice chairman candidate VP Shah Alam and the party-blessed female vice chairman Farida Yasmen also announced boycotts halfway through the polling day. Six chairman candidates including Awami League-backed and BNP-supported ones contested the upazila election, held from 8am to 4pm without any break on Saturday.
Besides, 13 candidates ran for vice chairman, while six for the female vice chairman post. There are 2,39,754 voters in Daudkandi Upazila. Visiting Hasanpur Govt Primary School Polling Station, journalists found 40-45 stamped ballot papers on the table – a most unusual scene for any fair election. Asked about the stamped ballot papers, the presiding officer of the polling station Abdul Matin said instead of placing them inside the ballot box, some voters had mistakenly kept them on the table.
Why he or any other official failed to stop them could not be immediately known.