Not a vote in 41 centres

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Not a single vote was cast in at least 41 polling centres of 11 districts yesterday, a phenomenon the nation has never before witnessed. Of the polling centres, 27 were alone in Lalmonirhat, while four in Jhenidah, two in Satkhira, and one each in, Feni, Sylhet, Cox’s Bazar, Chuadanga, Dinajpur, Naogaon, Rajshahi and Sirajganj. All the centres were set up in BNP-Jamaat dominated areas. Of the 27 centres in Lalmonirhat-3 constituency, seven were in Borobari union of sadar upazila, six each in Panchagram, Kulaghat and Mahendranagar unions, and two in Harati union. “Nobody in my village cast his or her vote,” said Abdus Sattar, 58, a farmer of Barabari village under the constituency, reasoning that their favourite from the BNP had boycotted the polls. However, some Awami League men of Sindurmoti village in Panchagram union alleged that the AL candidate there had many voters but they could not come to the polling centres as BNP men were on guard. As the village is BNP dominated, voters did not dare to cast their votes by dodging the eyes of the BNP men, said the AL men. Locals of Mohendranagar village of Lalmonirhat sadar upazila said about 90 percent people of the four unions were BNP supporters. So there was no chance for the AL candidate to bag votes there. District BNP president Asadul Habib Dulu said his party would go for a tougher programme in Lalmonirhat if the administration changed the vote results. District Returning Officer and Deputy Commissioner Habibur Rahman, and Assistant Returning Officer Nazmul Huda, also the upazila nirbahi officer of Lalmonirhat sadar, declined to comment on the zero turnouts when contacted last evening. Like the 27 in Lalmonirhat-3, nobody showed up at the polling centre in the village of the missing BNP leader Ilias Ali, Ramdhana Govt Primary School polling centre in Biswanath upazila of Sylhet-2. People from four centres under Jhenidah-3 constituency — Puranandapur Primary School, Khalispur Dakhil Madrasa, Bojrapur Primary School and Garabaria Primary School centres — did not dare to cast their votes either. The situation at Purbo Maheshchar centre of Char Chandia union under Feni-3, a constituency from where Opposition Leader and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia contests, also saw no voters yesterday. Due to the massive Jamaat atrocities and attacks on Hindu and Awami League men in villages under Shibpur union following the execution of war criminal Abdul Quader Mollah, nobody from Godaghat village in Satkhira-2 turned up at Godaghat Primary school centre. Locals said Jamaat men had threatened to kill the villagers if they went to cast their votes. On top of that, anti-polls activists had torched the polling centre there on election eve. Meanwhile, two polling centres — Saodagorhat Mahmudia Madrasa in Feni-3 and Shialdanga Primary School in Satkhira-2, saw one voter each.

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