Sunday, April 21, 2019 | ePaper

EC is only a silent witness

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VOTERS are apparently showing a little interest in the ongoing Upazila Elections, which has seen less than 15 percent voters turnout in at least four upazilas. Election Commission sources said only 8.63 percent voters cast their votes in the Dakkhin Surma election in Sylhet district and 9.38 percent of voters voted in Jaintapur Upazila election in the same district.
Besides, 13.13 percent exercised their franchise in the Bogura Sadar Upazila election and only 13.19 percent turned up for the election to Bagmara upazila of Rajshahi district. Less than 30 percent votes were cast at Shariakandi, Dhunot and Shahjahanpur of Bogura, Manda of Naogaon, Fatikchhari of Chattogram, Ulipur of Kurigram and Puthia of Rajshahi.
EC data also shows that voter turnout in the first two phases was the lowest since 2009.The voter turnout in the 2009 upazila polls was 70.57 percent, it fell to 61.23 percent in 2014, and declined further down to 43.31 percent in the first phase of the Upazila Election and 41.25 percent during the second phase.
When do voters become disinterested? It's then when they are not sure whether casting of their votes will make any difference. Voters feared they would not be able to cast their votes if they did turn up at the centres. So we can see that voters have lost faith in the ability of the EC.
Other reasons also exist--- The BNP; Left Democratic Alliance, a combine of eight left-leaning parties; Islami Andolan Bangladesh; Bangladesh Khelafat Andolan and Bangladesh Muslim League have boycotted the election. They said they boycotted the polls as they did not see any prospect of a free and fair election. The BNP alleged that the EC was not performing well and that's why it might stage "another farce" over the polls like it did with the National Election won by the ruling Awami League.
But the main reason behind non-participation is that voters feel that their votes don't make any difference. It would be a tragedy if the current will continue for a long time.

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