BNP didn’t get a single vote in 1285 centres: Shujan study

Staff Correspondent . Dhaka | Update:

Shujan members address the press conference. Photo: shujan.orgCandidates of opposition coalition Jatiya Oikya Front did not get a single vote in 1,285 polling centres while those of ruling Awami League got 100 per cent votes in 587 centres in the 11th parliamentary elections, held on 30 December 2018.

Sushasoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan), a civil society platform in Bangladesh, revealed the striking information, analysing documents provided by the election commission (EC), at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU) in Dhaka on Tuesday.

The civic body also demanded the president form a Supreme Judicial Council to investigate the allegations of irregularities in the elections.

Speaking at the programme, Shujan president and former adviser to a caretaker government M Hafizuddin Khan said no more elections should be held before the trial of the incumbent election commission officials.

Shujan’s central co-ordinator Dilip Kumar Sarker presented the keynote at the press conference.

The Shujan analysis revealed that out of 40,155 centres across the country under 300 constituencies, 100 per cent vote was cast in 213 centres of 103 constituencies.

Of those 103 constituencies, candidates of ruling Awami League-led mahajote ('grand alliance') and its allies won in 102 while opposition BNP candidate won in the other (Brahmanbaria-2) constituency.

Eight centres of that constituency saw 100 votes cast but the BNP-led Oikya Front candidate got only 0.3 per cent. Out of 23,197 votes, the sheaf of paddy -- symbol of the BNP -- got only four votes.

Writer and researcher Syed Abul Maksud said, “Irregularities were also seen in the past too. But this time the EC has done something unprecedented showing a vote cast of 100 per cent. This doesn’t go with the spirit of the liberation war."

Shujan said electronic voting machine (EVM) was used in six constituencies. The rate of vote cast in those six centres was 51.42 per cent but the rate was 80.80 per cent in the remaining 294 centres, making the total votes cast 80.20 per cent.

Shujan asked whether the discrepancy in the rate of votes cast was the result of stuffing ballot boxes in the night before the day of voting.

Local government expert Tofail Ahmed said, “The EC has behaved dishonestly in a consistent way. This is shameful. It has never happened in the history of elections. The information they provided showed they (the elections commissioners) have lost their right to stay in the position."

Supreme Court lawyer Shahdeen Malik advised the persons concerned to present the centre-wise results to the court.

He said, “Nothing more will be necessary to prove the irregularities. The information provided by the EC says they resorted to fraudulence. This is a punishable crime.”

Evaluating votes from the 18 constituencies the BNP won in four parliamentary elections consecutively from 1991 to 2008, Shujan said the rate of their vote increased every time. But the results of the 11th parliamentary elections are opposite.

Of the 18 constituencies, BNP did not contest in two. Their vote increased in two and the other 14 constituencies saw an unnatural plunge of votes.

One of those constituencies is Lakshmipur-1. In 2008, the 'sheaf of paddy' got 55.67 per cent votes but this time around it bagged only 2.02 per cent.

Shujan secretary Badiul Alam Majumder said, “The 11th parliamentary election is a repository of irregularities. All the options of peaceful transition of power fall apart if the process of election fails. The transition of power through an agitated process is not good for anyone.”

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