Time Digital Report: Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), Kazi Habibul Awal said voting in by-polls to six parliamentary constituencies fell vacant following the resignation of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) lawmakers have been free and fair.
"Though there were some irregularities in one or two places, voting at the six constituencies were almost fair. Voters' turnout was very low. Some 15-20 per cent of voters cast their ballots on an average," he said while speaking to reporters about the by-elections in six vacant constituencies.
The six constituencies are Thakurgaon-3, Bogura-4 and Bogura-6, Chapainawabganj-2, Chapainawabganj-3 and Brahmanbaria-2.
Vote casting in the by-polls began at 8:30am and continued till 4:30pm, said SM Asaduzzaman, joint secretary of the Election Commission.
Electronic voting machines (EVMs) were used in the by-elections, but no CCTV cameras were installed in the polling centers though the CCTV cameras were installed in polling booths in several by-elections held earlier.
Forty aspirants vied in the six constituencies for the lawmaker posts.
Ruling Awami League nominated party candidates for contesting in by-polls in three, out of six seats. These are Bogura-6, Chapainawabganj-2, and Chapainawabganj-3. The party didn't nominate any candidate in Thakurgaon-3, Bogura-4 and Brahmanbaria-2.
The by-election in Brahmanbaria-2 constituency is widely discussed. Ukil Abdus Sattar has been contesting in the by-election from the constituency amid widespread criticism after resignation as per the decision of BNP. He receives the support from local Awami League leaders and workers. Missing of an Independent candidate in this constituency has added a new dimension.
On December 11, 2022, five, out of seven BNP lawmakers submitted their resignations to the Speaker of the parliament Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury as part of their anti-government movement with a 10-point demand that includes the dissolution of parliament.
The MPs who resigned in person were Md Zahidur Rahman of Thakurgaon-3, Md Mosharraf Hossain of Bogura-4, Gulam Mohammad Siraj of Bogura-6, Md Aminul Islam of Chapainawabganj-2, and Rumeen Farhana, from the women's reserved seat.
Md Harunur Rashid of Chapainawabganj-3, who was in Australia at the time, and Abdus Sattar Buiyan of Brahmanbaria-2, who was ill, were unable to resign in person and instead did so via email.
Later, the parliament secretariat confirmed the resignation of Sattar after talking with him, and the resignation of Harun was accepted as he submitted his resignation again after returning home.