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Road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader on Tuesday said the apathy of voters seen during the recently held elections to two Dhaka city corporations is not good for Bangladesh's democracy.

The minister was talking to newsmen at his secretariat office, reports news agency UNB.

“We’ll assess and analyse the election once Awami League president and prime minister Sheikh Hasina returns home from abroad,” Obaidul Quader said responding to a question of a newsman.

Mentioning that the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the elections is a new experience, Quader, also general secretary of ruling Bangladesh Awami League, said some mistakes were there but many people found it easier and simpler.

“It’s a matter of concern for us… we had expected more votes in our favour. Considering the voters of the Awami League, the vote percentage was low,” he explained.

Quader also said the negative campaign against the EVM and the ruling party were the main reasons behind the low voter turnout in the Dhaka city polls. “However, it was a good election. In the future, political parties will play a role in mobilising public opinion by learning from these mistakes.”

About the Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s rejection of the city polls' results, the minister said it is obvious for the party to do so. “Despite its messy organisational condition without a leader, it has done well… Seriously, they fared well!”

Quader termed the attack on journalists during the city polls an isolated incident but said it should not have happened.

“I don’t know where the reporters were attacked. I’ll keep an eye so that such incidents don’t occur in the future. There’re no major clashes during the elections,” he added.

About the allegations that many councillors, who were elected, are accused in many cases and involved in casino business, the minister said, “Whoever is elected by the people’s votes becomes a public representative and I can’t ignore what the people want.”

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