Do Dhaka voters care about the winner or what the candidates are promising?

  • Masum Billah,
    Published: 2020-01-16 04:07:20 BdST


With the candidates of the two main political camps turning on the heat with campaigns amid chilly days in Dhaka, the question is what do the voters really care about?

Who will win or what are the candidates promising?

Thoughts of election day atmosphere and electronic voting machines or EVMs have occupied the electorates’ minds.

The mayor and councillor aspirants of the two city corporations are going door to door to seek votes ahead of the elections slated for Jan 30.

As campaigning through loudspeakers continues, most areas have been covered with posters hanging from ropes.

The Awami League-backed candidates are dominating the poster campaign, observed Aditya Rimon, a voter of Ward-20 under Dhaka South.    

“It’ unclear whether the BNP did not hang posters or could not,” he told on Wednesday.

“And the fears over whether we will be able to cast our votes are working among us,” the voter added.

The BNP alleged ruling party men tore down the posters of the opposition candidates and also barred them from campaigning, but no major violence has been reported after the campaign started six days ago.

Rimon also expressed concern over e-voting. “We still don’t know whether the vote we cast will go to the right place,” he said.

Abu Taher, a shopkeeper, voiced similar concerns. He doesn’t know yet how to vote on EVM.

“I’ll cast my vote if I get the scope,” he said.

Nuru Mia of Ward-27 in the North said, “I saw earlier that the atmosphere didn’t remain conducive to voting on the election day. I’ll go to the polling station if everything remains alright.”

The Election Commission has dismissed the BNP’s allegation that the EC is using the machines to rig votes. The commission has asked anyone with doubts about the EVMs to check these out during mock voting.

It has readied around 35,000 EVMs for using in nearly 2,600 polling stations in the capital.

A voter will have to press a white button next to the candidate of his or her choice on the ballot unit of the machine and then validate the decision by pressing a green “confirm” button.

In case a wrong white button is pressed, the voter can cancel the move by pressing a red “cancel” button.

Romana Akter of Ward-26 in the North said the candidates were also describing the use of EVMs while visiting the voters at home.

“No matter how I want my vote to be cast properly,” she added.

All the mayor candidates – six in the North and seven in the South - are nominated by registered political parties and are therefore contesting in the elections with their party logos.

In total, 758 candidates are running for the posts of mayor, general ward councillors and councillors of wards reserved for women.

The political parties can back the councillor candidates who are not allowed to use party symbols.

The EC has deployed executive magistrates to prevent the breach of electoral code of conduct.

After announcing the schedule on Dec 22, CEC KM Nurul Huda urged all the parties to fight for the ballots as the BNP is contesting in the polls with fears of rigging and intimidation.

The CEC promised fair elections and hoped these will be keenly contested.

The North houses 3.3 million voters while the South has 2.3 million voters.