Amid the fear of novel coronavirus infection, by-elections to three parliamentary constituencies — Dhaka-10, Gaibandha-3 and Bagerhat-4 — are underway on Saturday.
Over 10 lakh people are supposed to exercise their franchise in the three constituencies. The voting began at 9:00am and will continue till 5:00pm without any break.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina cast her vote in the Jatiya Sangsad by-polls to Dhaka-10 constituency at Dhaka City College centre.
Electronic Voting Machines are being used in Dhaka-10 while traditional ballot papers in Gaibandha-3 and Bagerhat-4.
Awami League and Jatiya Party are taking part in all the constituencies, but another major political party BNP is running in two constituencies — Dhaka-10 and Gaibandha-3.
BNP has no candidate in Bagerhat-4 as its candidate’s nomination paper was declared invalid there.
Six candidates of Dhaka-10 constituency included AL’s Md Shafiul Islam (Mohiuddin), BNP’s Sheikh Robiul Alam, Jatiya Party’s Hazi Md Shahjahan, Bangladesh Muslim League’s Nabab Khawza Ali Hasan Askari, Bangladesh Congress’s Mizanur Rahman Chowdhury and PDP’s Abdur Rahim.
The Dhaka-10 fell vacant as AL MP Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh resigned on December 29 to contest the Dhaka South City Corporation election.
There are 435,211 voters under 132 polling stations in Gaibandha-3 (Sadullapur-Palashbari upazilas) constituency that fell vacant following the death of Awami League lawmaker M Eunus Ali Sarkar on December 27.
Four candidates, including AL’s Umme Kulsum Smriti and BNP’s Moynul Hasan Sadik, are contesting the Gaibandha-3 by-election. The two other contenders are Jatiya Party’s Mainur Rabbi Chowdhury and Jasod’s SM Khademul Islam Khudi.
There are a total of 316,510 people have voting rights under 143 polling stations in Bagherhat-4 (Morelganj and Sharankhola upazilas) constituency that fell vacant after the death of AL lawmaker Mozammel Hossain on January 10.
Two candidates — AL’s Md Amirul Alam Milon and Jatiya Party’s Sajon Kumar — are competing in the Bagerhat-4 by-polls.
The four other contestants are Jatiya Party’s Hazi Md Shahjahan, Bangladesh Muslim League’s Nabab Khawza Ali Hasan Askari, Bangladesh Congress’s Mizanur Rahman Chowdhury and PDP’s Abdur Rahim.
At a regular media briefing on COVID-19 at the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research in Mohakhali on Friday, additional director general of the Directorate General of Health Services Professor Nasima Sultana said that voting through EVMs carried the risk of coronavirus contamination.
However, returning officer of Dhaka-10 by-election GM Shahatab Uddin on Friday said that they had taken cautionary measures following the outbreak of coronavirus.
‘There’ll be sanitizer and hand tissue in every polling booth. Banners will be there urging voters to wash hands before pressing the EVM button to cast votes,’ he said.
The Election Commission on February 6 last announced the by-election schedules for three parliamentary constituencies.
There is a constitutional obligation for the Election Commission to complete a parliamentary by-election within 90 days after the constituency concerned falls vacant.
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