Former BCL Leader stamps 43 ballots in 57-second, video goes viral

A former BCL Leader stuffing ballots during the Lakshmipur-3 by-election on 5 November, 2023
Screengrab of a video

A video of a former leader of Bangladesh Chhatra League, student wing of governing Awami League, went viral on Facebook where he is seen stamping on the ‘boat’ symbol in ballot papers in the open during a by-election in Lakshmipur-3 constituency.

The 57-second video, which went viral on social media on Monday, shows the former BCL leader stamping on 43 ballots. Another person was seen helping him.

‘Boat’ is the electoral symbol of the Awami League.

Azad Hossain, the former vice-president of Chandraganj thana unit BCL, was working as the polling agent of ‘boat’ at Dakkhin Khaguria Government Primary School in Digholi union parishad in Lakshmipur Sadar upazila.

Prothom Alo phoned him several times but he did not pick up.

Speaking about the video, Chandraganj thana BCL president Abu Taleb said Azad was a vice-president of their committee. District BCL expelled him on 8 October on allegations of breaching organisational rules. Currently he is not involved with the politics of BCL.

He further said he has seen the video.

However, Awami League’s candidate Golam Faruq, who won the election bagging 120,599 votes, claimed the viral video is an older video. Nothing like that happened in the polling on Sunday, he insisted.

Golam Faruq further claimed that someone might have uploaded the video in social media with an ulterior motive.

The by-election’s returning officer and Cumilla region’s polling official Farhad Hossain claimed he did not see any video where a person was seen stamping on the boat symbol in the ballot papers in the open.

Later in the evening he told Prothom Alo, “The district administration has sent me the video. The matter is being seen with due importance.”

The candidates of the Jatiya Party and the Zaker Party boycotted the by-election alleging vote rigging, expelling their polling agents from various centres and many other irregularities at around 2:00 pm on Sunday.

Zaker Party’s Samsul Karim Khokon told Prothom Alo that the viral video proved the incidents of ballot stuffing in the by-election. The ruling party’s candidate resorted to all sorts of irregularities to win the polls.

Lakshmipur-3 constituency fell vacant as MP, AKM Shahjahan Kamal passed away on 30 September. The election commission announced the seat as vacant on 3 October. The voting was held on Sunday.