Most Dhaka City voters spent holiday at village homes: Quader

Dhaka, March 01 – Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader has justified the low voter turnout in the Thursday’s city elections saying that the voting day was a public holiday for which most of the voters went to their village homes on the day.
He made the statement while addressing a press conference at the party president Sheikh Hasina’s Dhanmondi political office in the city yesterday.
The voter turnout in the just concluded Dhaka North City Corporation mayoral by-elections and elections to 36 councillor posts was 31.05 percent.
Quader, also the road transport and bridges minister, gave another three specific reason for the poor turnout of voters in the local body polls. Firstly, the country’s major political party BNP has not
participated in the polls, secondly it had been raining since morning on the voting and thirdly it was a by-election, he described.
The AL general secretary also claimed that the Thursday’s city polls were better than the local governemtn polls were held in 2001 during the tenure of BNP-Jamaat government as BNP leader Sadeque Hossain Khoka was elected as mayor of the then undivided city corporation in 2001 when “only 10 percent votes were cast.”
About BNP’s decision to boycott every polls which will be held under current election commission and government, Quader said that they (BNP) would face a major setback if they refrain from taking part in
the upcoming local government elections.
“BNP will plunge into a crisis in the next general election as it has started boycotting election deceptively,” he said.
“It is not a democratic way to stay aside from election,” Quader said adding that grassroots leaders of BNP are seen taking part in the ensuing Upazila Parishad elections but BNP high-ups are expelling
them, which is very unfortunate.
Responding to a query, the Awami League leader said earlier BNP took part in the city corporation elections and secured victory in four cities. “It means BNP takes part in polls sensing favorable time.”
When asked about BNP’s allegation that the government has destroyed the country’s democracy, Quader said BNP has failed in waging movement and securing victory in the election and thus it has nothing to say without playing deceptive role.
Besides, AL nominated mayoral candidate business icon Atiqul Islam was elected unofficially in the DNCC by-elections boycotted by BNP.
In the previous DNCC mayoral election, the BNP had nominated Tabith Awal, who boycotted the polls halfway through the voting, alleging widespread rigging. Consequently, the AL’s Annisul Huq was elected
mayor on April 28, 2015. – Staff Reporter