POST TIME: 10 July, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 10 July, 2019 01:57:36 AM
100pc voter turnout absurd, says Shujon

100pc voter turnout absurd, says Shujon

Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik president and former caretaker government adviser, M Hafizuddin Khan speaks at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity auditorium in the capital yesterday calling for Judicial Supreme Council probe into ‘irregularities’ during 11th national elections. Focus Bangla Photo

Terming the 100 per cent votes cast at 213 centres in the 11th parliamentary poll as "illogical and unusual", Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujon) yesterday (Tuesday) demanded that the Supreme  Judicial Council  investigate the irregularities and bring persons responsible to justice.

The casting of 100 per cent votes at any centre is not logical and not at all acceptable because it is very natural that during election some of the listed voters might be dead, some might be outside the country, others might be out of the constituency for emergency work or might be ill, and so on, it said.

It said there is no report of 100 per cent turn-out in the 100-year history of elections.

The casting of 100 per cent votes at 213 centres in 103 constituencies is not at all believable, Dilip Kumar Sarker, central coordinator of Shujan, said after presenting the statistics on the 11th parliamentary elections at the Dhaka Reporters' Unity in the capital.

Shujon president and former caretaker government adviser, M Hafizuddin Kha, chaired the programme.

After analysing the results of the general election, Shujon found that a single electoral symbol has bagged 100 per cent votes at 587 centres in 75 constituencies and that the difference in the number of votes between the grand alliance and Oikyafront is abnormal. Only a single candidate bagged all valid votes at 587 centres in 75 constituencies and no other candidate got a single vote, the report said.

The candidates of the "boat" symbol bagged all votes at 586 centres, while a candidate of the "paddy sheaf" bagged all votes at one centre, it added. Out of the 75 constituencies, the Awami

League (AL) won in 74 seats and the Workers’ Party candidate one.

Under the Magura-2 constituency, the candidate of the “paddy sheaf” bagged all votes at a polling centre, but the AL candidate was shown the winner.

Such tendencies have been found in all seats of Gopalganj and Madaripur, including Sirajganj-3, Faridpur-1, Narail-2, Brahmanbaria-6 and Barishal-1.

The candidates of the “boat symbol” bagged all votes at 239 centres out of 387 in three constituencies of Gopalganj district.

The candidate of the “boat symbol” in Gopalganj-3 bagged all votes at 77 centres out of 107.

The candidates of the “boat symbol” obtained all votes at 68 out of 376 centres in three constituencies of Madaripur district, the data said. So, 100 per cent voter turn-out at 213 centres is not natural under any logic, Shujon said.

Quoting chief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda, who also said that 100 per cent voter turn-out is not normal and the Election Commission (EC) has nothing to do it, Shujon said the EC is a constitutional body and as the chief of the body, the CEC cannot say such a thing. Several verdicts of the apex court say that it is the responsibility of the EC to probe whether the elections have been fair and just. If the EC feels the elections were not fair, it can cancel the polls and hold fresh elections.

Also, at some centres voter turn-out has been very low. Eleven centres of five constituencies recorded less than five per cent turn-out, while 20 centres of 10 constituencies six to 19 per cent.

The lowest , 1.33 per cent, was at the Jessore Cantonment Board Lower Secondary School under Jessore-3 constituency. The total number of voters at the cenre was 2,186, but only 29 votes were cast, the report said.

There is a huge difference in the number of votes secured by the grand alliance and Oikyafront. Candidates of the “paddy sheaf” did not get a single vote at 1,285 centres. The same happened for the “boat symbol” at two centres—the Hatpara Fajil Madrasa centre in Thakurgaon-3 and Thoipara Govt Primary School in Magura-2.

Candidates of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), who got a large number of votes in the constituencies in the last four general elections, have seen a huge drop in their vote share.

Of the total 300 seats, there were no candidates of the “paddy sheaf” in 18 seats. At the same time 163 candidates, including heavyweights, of the “paddy sheaf” lost their election deposits.

About cancellation of votes, Shujon found excessive cancellation. The average cancellation of votes was 1.06 per cent in 300 constituencies. Around 11 to 61 per cent votes were cancelled at 342 centres. In addition, no vote was cancelled at 4,795 centres and 61 per cent votes were cancelled at the Noagaon Govt Primary School centre under Brahmanbaria-2.

Shujon also found huge differences between votes cast on ballot papers and electronic voting machines (EVMs). Comparing the votes cast, it was seen that 80.80 per cent votes were cast on ballot papers in 294 seats, while votes cast in the remaining six seats was 51.42 per cent.

Shujon wondered why votes cast in EVMs were lower compared to paper ballots.

Eminent jurist Dr Shahdeen Malik said: “The EC is a constitutional body and this statistics is not from any political party or any foreign organisation or TIB. The EC has published the report. So it cannot be denied. We did not see 100 per cent turn-out during the Communist Party rule in the Soviet Union during the 70s. 100 per cent turn-out is totally absurd. Nobody will claim the elections were fair except an insane person.”

Under Article 96 (2), the President can take this election result under cognizance and can probe the matter by the SJC to bring those  responsible to book.

Columnist Abul Maksud said there had been non-transparent elections in the past, but the inconsistencies in election results are against the spirit of the Liberation War of Bangladesh. “The EC has to be accountable on the Day of Judgement and God will not pardon it.”

The Shujon secretary said: “Our election system has collapsed. People have lost faith in it. If the transfer of power does not happen peacefully, it will not bring welfare for anybody.”

Local government expert, Dr Tofail Ahmed, said: “It’s a rigged election. There is no use holding other elections until a trial is carried out for the rigging.”

He further said local government institutions are not functioning properly because elections have been rigged.