Vol. 4 Num 87 Fri. August 22, 2003  
Front Page

Coalition wins by-polls
Khadija Amin declared winner; AL alleges intimidation

The four-party alliance candidate, Khadija Amin, was declared winner of Netrakona-3 by-polls yesterday as she took the lead with 95,251 votes in the 124 centres over her rival candidate with 69,966.

The main opposition party Awami League candidate, Jubed Ali, fell behind by 25,285 votes in the second position of the seven-candidate foray, said the Election Commission in a late night press release.

Syed Abu Zafar Sabat of Krishak Sramik Janata League bagged 3,424 votes, followed by Abdul Wahab, an independent, with 890 votes. Ali Osman Khan from the Jatiya Party (Ershad) polled 869 votes; Mohammad Sadek from Krishak Sramik Mukti Andolon 201 votes; and Abdul Ali Rumali from the Jatiya Party (Monju) 104 votes.

The election in which 1,71,948 votes were cast and 1,243 out of them cancelled took place from 8:00am to 4:00pm in the presence of about 4,000 security personnel and several thousand government officials without any untoward incident. The turnout was 62.

88 per cent.

Deputy Commissioner of Netrakona Hossain Jamil said last night that he did not get any report of untoward incidents or violence during the by-polls that came after the constituency fell vacant at the death of ruling BNP lawmaker Nurul Amin Talukder, husband of Khadija.

Throughout the day, private vehicles were kept off the roads in Atpara and Kendua upazilas forming the 2,73,471-voter constituency.

Only security personnel, magistrates, polling officials, newsmen and observers were allowed to travel in vehicles. The cellphone network also remained cut off during voting hours.

Chief Election Commissioner MA Syed visited two centres in Atpara and expressed satisfaction with the way the polls were conducted.

About 50 lawmakers of the AL were in Netrakona, keeping watch on different polling centres.

The AL leaders alleged that supporters of the candidate backed by the ruling alliance intimidated the voters and drove the agents of the AL candidate out of polling centres.

AL leaders Saber Hossain Chowdhury and Abdur Rahman said their agents had been forced out of some centres in Atpara by the BNP workers.

The news agency UNB adds: The AL alleged the ruling party supporters had cast fake votes at centre Nos. 45, 93, 121 and 122 taking over polling booths, and prevented voters of the minority community from voting.

"We met administrative officials including the presiding officer and assistant returning officer concerned to lodge complaints. But they refused to accept our complaints," said an AL release in Dhaka.

The leaders also alleged the BNP workers had attacked the residence of a local AL leader while he was motivating voters to cast votes at Dharmaroy centre at Sukhari, Atpara.

The ruling party supporters had also prevented the voters from casting votes at Ramchandrapur Primary School centre in Maskara, the AL leaders alleged.

An unconfirmed report said three women were arrested for casting fake votes at Balur Char centre of Shantidhona union in Kendua.

Women queue up yesterday to cast votes in a by-election in Netrakona-3 constituency that fell vacant at the death of a ruling BNP lawmaker about three months ago. Photo: STAR