a year ago

EC cancels Gaibandha-5 by-polls for mysterious reasons, says AL candidate

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Ruling Awami League (AL) candidate Mahmud Hasan Ripon on Wednesday demanded the publication of results of those polling centres where voting went unperturbed despite the suspension of the entire election at the Gaibandha-5 parliamentary seat by the Election Commission (EC).

The EC on Wednesday cancelled the by-election following allegations of vote rigging and intimidation.

 “The EC has cancelled the by-election for mysterious reasons. Results of those polling centres where voting went smoothly must be published while re-election has to be conducted at those polling centres where voting was suspended,” Ripon told a press briefing held at the Bonapara AL office premises following the EC decision, reports UNB.

Meanwhile, some residents of the constituency protested against the EC’s decision to suspend the election. They demanded that the EC officials, including the Chief Election Commissioner, be withdrawn and punished.

The EC had set October 12 for holding the by-election of the Saghata-Fulchari parliamentary seat, or Gaibandha-5. Although the polling began peacefully at 8:00 am, allegations of vote rigging and intimidation started to spread within a very short time. The CEC said widespread ‘malpractices’ prompted them to cancel the entire election.

Independents and other candidates started boycotting the election, alleging that the polling centres have been occupied by activists of the ruling party. By 1:00 pm, voting at all the polling stations was stopped by the EC.

 “The Gaibandha-5 by-election has gone out of control,” the CEC told reporters at the Election Commission headquarters in Dhaka.  “We’ve noticed from the start that malpractices were taking place and illegal entries were being made at the secret places (booths),” he said.

Upon hearing about the cancellation, voters who couldn’t cast their votes rallied against the EC’s decision. Some cordoned off the Saghata Upazila Parishad and burned effigies of the CEC in front of the office of Fulchari Upazila Nirbahi Officer.

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