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Some form of election better than no election: Obaidul Quader

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A dull turnout is better than not having an election, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader has said after the mayoral polls for North Dhaka.

The road transport and bridges minister made the remarks at a media briefing from the ruling party’s office in Dhanmondi on Friday, reports bdnews24.com.

He criticised the BNP for not joining the by-polls on Thursday. He also said the government cannot be judged over the low turnout.

“You must see the overall picture. We must have democracy and an electoral process and rule of the constitution. You can’t just throw away the rules,” said the minister.

Atiqul Islam, the former BGMEA chief who secured the Awami League’s support, won the by-election with a margin of 839,302 votes.

His nearest rival Shafin Ahmed, the musician who contested with Jatiya Party’s support, drew a paltry 52,429 votes.

The post fell vacant after Atiqul’s predecessor Annisul Huq, also a former BGMEA boss, died from illness in 2017. Huq also had Awami League’s support when he ran for mayor in 2015.

 “It is good that the election happened. Some form of democracy is better than no democracy. Some form of election is better than no election,” Quader told reporters.

The BNP, which rejected the results of the Dec 30 national polls over allegations of vote rigging, also boycotted Thursday’s by-polls.

Then rain and gloomy weather on voting day meant even fewer people were lining up to vote in the by-polls to get a mayor for little over a year until the next city corporation elections.

According to the Election Commission, the turnout finally stood at 31.05 percent, while it was around 37 percent in the 2015 election.

After the results were announced, BNP Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said the “winner was selected in the night before election”.

 “No-one told the BNP to stay away from the election. They did this by themselves. You can’t criticise when you don’t even participate. Their comments would have meant something had they been a part of the election,” said Quader. 

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