January 10, 2024
DHAKA – Dhaka district had the lowest voter turnout in Sunday’s election, with only 25 percent vote cast, according to Election Commission data.
The overall national lowest turnout was recorded in Dhaka-15 constituency — only 13 percent. Awami League candidate and State Minister for Industries Kamal Ahmed Majumder won here with the approval of only a 10th of the total voters. He bagged 39,632 of the 3,44,507 votes in the seat.
Dhaka-17, comprising elite areas like Gulshan, saw the second lowest vote cast with 17 percent turnout. MA Arafat, who bagged the seat in the by-polls late last year with an even lower turnout, got the votes of only 15 percent (48,049) of the total voters (3,23,932) in the area, according to the EC data obtained by The Daily Star.
The third lowest turnout was recorded in Dhaka-8, which has been taken by former Madaripur lawmaker and AL leader AFM Bahauddin Nasim. The seat saw the third-lowest turnout — 18.7 percent, of which Nasim has the approval of only 17 percent (46,610).
A total of 141 seats had turnouts which were lower than the 41.99 percent national average vote cast reported by the chief election commissioner.
Of them, more than 50 seats recorded less than 30 percent turnouts.
Districts which have historically belonged to the oppositions, including BNP and Jatiyo Party, did the poorest in terms of turnout.
After Dhaka, Lakshmipur, a traditional BNP bastion, had the lowest voter turnout, drawing in only 26 percent of the voters, according to the EC data.
Similarly, Bogura and Kurigram, which are historically BNP and JP strongholds, managed to draw 30 percent voters to the polling centres.
Chapainawabganj, once a BNP stronghold but where Jamaat-e-Islami has a firm footing now, recorded 35 percent ballot cast.
The ruling party had given up Gaibandha-1 and Gaibandha-2 for JP as a part of a seat-sharing agreement and removed its own candidates from the two seats. These two constituencies saw 30 percent and 34 percent turnout.
In comparison, the neighbouring seats of Gaibandha saw up to 54 percent turnout.
Similar patterns can be observed in other seats given up for JP.
Patuakhali-1 is one of them. It saw a turnout of only 24 percent, compared to neighbouring Patuakhali-2 which had a 45 percent turnout.
Mymensingh-5 and Mymensingh-8 were two others where AL candidates were asked to step aside to make way for JP nominees. These two seats saw a 26-27 percent vote cast.
Interestingly, Feni, once the base camp for former prime minister Khaleda Zia, saw a high turnout of 51 percent.
The highest voter turnouts took place in AL strongholds.
A whopping 77 percent people in Gopalganj voted. The highest vote cast – 87 percent — was recorded in Gopalganj-3, AL President Sheikh Hasina’s seat.
The second highest turnout was recorded in Gopalganj-2, from where Hasina’s cousin Sheikh Selim ran and won.
A similar situation could be seen in Bagerhat, where two of the seats are dominated by members of the Sheikh family, Helal and Tonmoy. The district recorded a 63 percent turnout.
Madaripur, Faridpur, Narail, Shariatpur and Bhola, which have historically been AL strongholds, also recorded significant turnout, recording 53 to 57 percent turnout, EC data show.