Vol. 5 Num 685 Thu. May 04, 2006  
Front Page

Draft voter list shows 22pc rise in number
Over 65pc of total population listed

The Election Commission (EC) yesterday published the draft voter list, enlisting a total number of 9,13,14,592 voters, but the lists were not posted at many selected places for public viewing.

The EC failed to mention the figures of male and female voters, and the publishing date of the final list as acute indiscipline in coordinating the total process was noticed.

The total increase of voters on the new list is around 1.65 crore, about 22 per cent higher than the number on the list prepared in 2000, which seemed to many quarters very unusual.

In the existing roll, 57.53 per cent of the then 13 crore population--7.48 crore--was registered as voters, while the new draft list has over 65 per cent of around 14 crore present population as voters.

The ratio of voters to population in the fresh list will be much higher than those in all the rolls prepared since 1970.

Although posting voter lists at the offices of registration officers (RO) and assistant registration officers (ARO), public places like Upazila Parishad, municipality and city corporations, ward commissioners' offices and polling centres is mandatory, no lists were displayed at the EC Secretariat in Dhaka and election offices in Chittagong, Moulvibazar, Jessore and other districts.

Acting Secretary to the EC Secretariat Mohammad Zakoria and officials of Dhaka district election office gave contradictory statements about the places of posting the draft lists.

Talking to reporters yesterday, Zakoria claimed that the draft lists were displayed at different public places for public viewing.

An official of district election office Dhaka, however, told reporters that they will rather send the lists to the EC.

"We will not disclose the total number of voters or display the lists here ourselves. We will send the lists to the EC and it is up to them where to post those lists," the officer said on condition of anonymity.

The Chittagong election office also said they will not display the draft voter lists and will rather preserve them at its office so that anyone can check if needed.

Meanwhile, sources said the officials concerned hurriedly completed the lists without often maintaining appropriate procedures: filling in all information on the forms still remains incomplete, said officials at different district election offices.

Some district election officers said they have failed to complete the draft lists for want of fund and it will take more time to complete them. Some of these officials said they did not receive any money from the EC for copying the forms.

Some ward commissioners of Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) said they did not receive the draft lists from the local election offices and were not even informed about posting them.

"I have read about it in the newspaper but no one has yet contacted me or given me any list," Haji Rafiqul Islam, a ward commissioner in Mirpur, told reporters.

Commissioner of DCC Ward No. 1 Hafizul Islam told The Daily Star at 5:00pm yesterday that he did not receive any list as of then.

No list was found posted at the Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Boys' High School, a polling centre. The headmistress of the school expressed her ignorance about the matter.

ARO Aminul Huq Bhuiyan, responsible for that centre, also did not give any explanation.

Abdul Majid, ARO of Agargaon-Taltola Government Colony High School centre, said he has completed preparing the draft voter list and the number of voters in his area is 29,125. He, however, did not display the list until yesterday noon.

Our correspondents reported that the number of voters in the draft list saw an increase of over 15 per cent in Khulna and Satkhira, 21 per cent in Chandpur, 13.04 in Jessore, 12.74 in Moulvibazar, 20.98 in Barisal, 17.20 in Jhalakathi, 11.67 in Pirojpur, 19.95 in Barguna, 15.33 in Bhola, 16.49 in Patuakhali and 20 per cent in Kishoreganj.

The draft voter list was not posted at public places in Chittagong and the EC office here was found busy sorting out the total number of fresh voters and collecting relevant data and documents all day long, reported our correspondent in the district.

"The EC Secretariat ordered us on April 27 to finalise the draft list within May 3 and then make it public. But how can it be possible to do such a huge task in just three or four days?" an EC official told The Daily Star yesterday evening.

EC sources said they will start sending the draft lists to the offices of different ward commissioners, upazilas, pourasavas and other selected places from today.

Our Jessore correspondent reported that leaders of the 14-party opposition alliance have rejected the fresh voter list terming the new voters on it "fake".

No list was posted in Moulvibazar until 5:00pm yesterday.

Many opposition leaders, VIPs, leaders of minority communities, candidates of last parliamentary election said no one contacted them for including their names on the list until now.

The EC officials had said the names will be accommodate in the fresh list from the existing one.

"We have received some such allegations and tried to resolve," Zakoria told reporters yesterday.

The EC began collecting primary information of voters on January 1 and declared to complete it by January 31. It, however, extended the date thrice amid controversy that fake voters were being registered instead of the genuine ones.

On April 28, the EC announced that it would publish the draft voter list on May 3 while its appeal against the High Court directives on voter-listing remains pending with the Supreme Court.

Related Story

arrow 14-party trashes draft voter list
The 14-party opposition line-up has rejected the draft voter list published by the Election Commission yesterday, alleging that the fresh list was prepared for 'election engineering' bypassing a HighCourt