Did I cast my vote? Does it matter?

Officials demonstrate how to use electronic voting machines to a woman during mock polling at Dhaka Residential Model College in Muhammadpur yesterday. Photo: Palash Khan

I went to cast my vote at New Model University College (DSCC ward 17) on Mirpur Road around 11am. The entire Dhanmondi 32 area was buzzing with people, but not with voters. There were polling agents of various ages proudly representing “boat” while “sheaf of paddy” was a no-show.

Inside the centre, eager polling agents were waiting to help people find the room to vote. They did not seem to want anything except reminding people to vote for “boat”

One of them pointed me to the third floor of the building (room 5) where a cheery looking man welcomed me. There were no voters there.

An official scanned my thumb. My info popped up on a screen right away. He pointed me towards the “secret room” to vote.

There were two EVMs -- one for mayor and other for councillor candidates.

I stood there contemplating. Suddenly, I heard, “This one Sir, this one. Boat!” I turned back and saw the guy who welcomed me was still there -- inside the booth. I told him to leave but he was adamant not to.

He also showed me which councillor to choose, saying, “This is our guy”.

I asked him to leave, no one seemed to care. One of the officials said, “Just cast your vote.”

Meanwhile, that guy kept on whispering, “Vote for boat”.

It was almost like a chant that seemed to reverberate among the polling agents, election officials inside and law enforcers outside the room.

I stayed at the centre for around two hours and the situation remained the same.

So, did I cast my vote? Does it matter anymore?


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