Top, A man plays a vuvuzela (plastic horn) as part of a campaign for Abdul Haque, a contestant from the Ganatantrik Parishad for the FBCCI polls in Dhaka yesterday. Left, Supporters of different candidates set up camps in front of the FBCCI building. Right, businesspeople line up to cast their votes.
Photo: Amran Hossain
A panel led by Kazi Akramuddin Ahmed was leading in the FBCCI polls last night as he won 11 posts of directors out of 15 in the chamber group.
The Ganatantrik Parishad backed by former FBCCI president Annisul Huq trailed far behind its rival by winning only four posts in the chamber group.
The counting of votes in the association group continued hours past midnight.
Vote counting in the biennial election to the nation's apex trade body started at 7:00pm yesterday, less than two hours after the polls were closed.
A total of 1,816 votes were cast in the election, Awami League lawmaker Ali Ashraf, chairman of the election board, told reporters.
The voters went to the polls to elect 30 directors who -- along with 18 nominated directors (nine each from chamber and association groups) -- will choose a president for the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry tomorrow for a two-year term.
Of 1,611 voters in the association group, 1,433 cast their votes; and 383 ballots -- out of 390 -- were cast in the chamber group.
The voting began at 9:26am at the Federation Bhaban in Motijheel and the three-member election board announced the closure of the polls at 5:20pm yesterday.
The election, however, had been scheduled to begin at 9:00am and end at 4:30pm.
â€œSince we started the election late, we also closed it late,â€ Ashraf said.
â€œThe election was held peacefully as no major untoward incident took place. I was not under pressure from any quarter during the election.â€
A total of 63 candidates contested for the posts of 30 directors -- 15 each from chamber and association groups -- under the banner of two panels.
Kazi Akramuddin Ahmed, chairman of Standard Bank, and a member of the ruling Awami League's advisory council, won clear backing from the government for his panel.
On the other hand, Annisul Huq, a former FBCCI president and a popular face in the business community, threw his weight behind the Ganatantrik Parishad, but did not contest the election.
In the Ganatantrik Parishad panel, Abu Alam Chowdhury was the leader of the association group and Dewan Sultan Ahmed headed the chamber group.
According to rules, this year's FBCCI president will be chosen from the association group as the incumbent president was selected from the chamber group two years ago.
â€œThe election is being held peacefully. Everyone is voting spontaneously,â€ Akram said after casting his vote at 4:20pm.
After the primary results of the chamber group, a jubilant Monowara Hakim Ali, who represented Chittagong Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the election, said: â€œI am very happy to be elected.â€
â€œNow I will be able to complete my unfinished tasks.â€
Also the president of the chamber, Monowara Ali said she came to know about the problems of different chambers in the country during her election campaign. â€œI know not only their problems, but also their potential.â€
â€œI may not be able to solve all their problems, but I would be happy if I could solve at least some of them.â€