Amid the fear of novel coronavirus infection, three parliamentary constituencies -– Dhaka-10, Gaibandha-3 and Bagerhat-4 –- are going to by-elections on Saturday.
Over 10 lakh people are eligible for exercising their franchise in the three constituencies. The voting will begin at 9am and continue till 5pm without any break.
Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will be used in Dhaka-10 while traditional ballot papers in Gaibandha-3 and Bagerhat-4.
Awami League and Jatiya Party are taking part in all the constituencies, but another major political party BNP is running in two constituencies – Dhaka-10 and Gaibandha-3.
BNP has no candidate in Bagerhat-4 as its candidate’s nomination paper was declared invalid there.
Dhaka-10 (Dhanmondi and Lalbagh): There are 321,275 voters under 117 polling stations in the constituency comprised of wards 14-18 and 22 of Dhaka South City Corporation.
Six candidates, including AL’s Md Shafiul Islam (Mohiuddin) and BNP’s Sheikh Robiul Alam, are running in the Dhaka-10 by-polls.
The four other contestants are Jatiya Party’s Hazi Md Shahjahan, Bangladesh Muslim League’s Nabab Khawza Ali Hasan Askari, Bangladesh Congress’s Mizanur Rahman Chowdhury and PDP’s Abdur Rahim.
At a regular media briefing on Covid-19 at the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) in Mohakhali on Friday, Additional Director General of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Prof Dr Nasima Sultana voting in EVMs carries the risk of coronavirus contamination.
However, returning officer of Dhaka-10 by-election GM Shahatab Uddin on Friday said they have taken cautionary measures following the outbreak of coronavirus.
“There’ll be sanitiser and hand tissue in every polling booth. Banners will be there urging voters to wash hands before pressing the EVM button to cast votes,” he said.
The Dhaka-10 fell vacant as AL MP Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh resigned on December 29 to contest the Dhaka South City Corporation election.
Gaibandha-3 (Sadullapur-Palashbari upazilas): There are 435,211 voters under 132 polling stations in the constituency that fell vacant following the death of Awami League MP Dr M Eunus Ali Sarkar on December 27.
Four candidates, including AL’s Umme Kulsum Smriti and BNP’s Moynul Hasan Sadik, are contesting the Gaibandha-3 by-election. The two other contenders are Jatiya Party’s Mainur Rabbi Chowdhury and Jasod’s SM Khademul Islam Khudi.
Bagherhat-4 (Morelganj and Sharankhola upazilas): A total of 316,510 people have voting rights under 143 polling stations in the constituency that fell vacant after the death of AL MP Dr Mozammel Hossain on January 10.
Two candidates – AL’s Md Amirul Alam Milon and Jatiya Party’s Sajon Kumar -- are competing in the Bagerhat-4 by-polls.
The Election Commission on February 6 last announced the by-election schedules for three parliamentary constituencies.
There is a constitutional obligation for the Election Commission to complete a parliamentary by-election within 90 days after the constituency concerned falls vacant.