Aruail and Pakshimul -- two unions of Brahmanbaria-2 constituency (Sarail and Ashuganj), known as the stronghold of the lawyer Abdus Sattar Bhuiyan, who is contesting the by-polls as an independent candidate after being stepped down recently from the parliament as a BNP lawmaker.

The voting of this by-poll started at 8:00am on Wednesday.

The four candidates of this polls are: Abdus Sattar Bhuiyan with Kalar Chhara (bunch of bananas) symbol, former president of Ashuganj upazila BNP Abu Asif Ahmed with Motorcar symbol, joint secretary of Jatiya Party central committee Abdul Hamid Bhasani with Plough symbol and Zahirul Islam of Zaker Party with Rose symbol.

There are three voting centres in two unions (Aruail and Pakshimul) where no agents other than that of Abdus Sattar were seen. The presence of unwanted individuals was also noticed at 14 secret rooms of these centres, where votes are casted.  

The presence of unwanted individual was noticed at secret facility of voting center
Tanvir Ahammed

The by-polls to Brahmanbaria-2 constituency is being held with no closed circuit camera (CCTV) at 826 booths.

Before the elections, voters and three contestants feared to have 'dacoits' at the voting centres, alleging the former BNP man, Abdus Sattar, is backed by the ruling Awami-League (AL) in the by-polls.

During the visit to different centres at 12:30pm, including Pakshimul Government Primary School, Pakshimul Union Parishad and Aruail Multipurpose High School, our correspondents saw some people entering the secret facility of the centres along with the voters.   

The presence of unwanted individual was noticed at secret facility of voting center
Tanvir Ahammed

While visiting the Aruail Multipurpose High School centre, the agent of Kalar Chhara, Bacchu Mia, was seen entering secret room-2 with a male voter.  

When asked, Bacchu Mia told Prothom Alo that "He (the voter) requested me to enter the room with him. I went inside to help."

Over the issue, the presiding officer, Joynal Abedin, of the booth said he is unware of the situation as he went to the washroom handing over the duty of conducting votes to a polling agent.

Apart from this, Joy Roy, another agent of Kalar Chhara in this centre, was seen going back and forth to the polling booths designated for the female voters.  

Same scenario appeared in all secret facilities of this center.

The presiding officer of Aruail Multipurpose High School centre, Maudud Ahmed told Prothom Alo that, "If anyone is sick, someone may enter inside the booth to help."