Sunday's by-poll to Barisal-5 constituency, which was won by the ruling Awami League candidate by vast margin, witnessed huge ballot box stuffing, an election monitoring group said yesterday.
Although the Election Working Group did not name the offenders, local journalists reported that the supporters of only Jebunnesa Afroz, the AL candidate, were on the field on the voting day.
Her lone rival, Bangladesh Nationalist Front's Saiful Islam Liton, was out of contact three or four days before the voting day and none of his polling agents or supporters was seen on Sunday.
"The average voter turnout in the polling stations observed was 53.7 percent. However, the EWG holds that this figure does not reflect the actual turnout due to incidence of ballot box stuffing," said a report of the EWG, a network of 29 civil society bodies.
The EWG ozbserved voting in 75 out of 159 polling stations. Citing some incidents of rigging, the group said around 50 to 60 people entered a polling station in ward-12 and stamped 1,200 to 1,300 ballots, while the polling officials and law enforcers played a silent role.
Jebunnesa bagged 1,83,629 votes while the BNF candidate got 6,136.