133 constituency boundaries changed, Dhaka gets 20 seats | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 30, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 30, 2008

133 constituency boundaries changed, Dhaka gets 20 seats

The Election Commission (EC) yesterday unveiled a draft list of parliamentary seats with their boundaries redrawn district-wise.
Of the 300 constituencies, 133 have seen changes in boundaries and the rest remained intact.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda presented the list of redefined electoral districts at a press conference at the EC Secretariat's conference room.
According to the catalogue, seats representing 17 districts in parliament have either increased or decreased.
After massive delineation of boundaries, seven new seats have been added to Dhaka district. Metropolitan areas with high density of population won all the seven additions.
The number of constituencies in the capital now stands at 15, up from eight, while that in Dhaka district at 20, rising from 13.
Dohar and Nawabganj upazilas in Dhaka have been allocated only one seat against their previous two. Some unions of Nawabganj and Keraniganj have been combined to form a new constituency, raising the number of seats in Keraniganj to two, up from one.
The remainder of the 133 redrawn up seats however did not witness much change in their boundaries. In their case, the EC has either added or taken away upazilas or unions between neighbouring seats to bring balance in their sizes in terms of electorate.
According to a calculation of the EC Secretariat, 32 constituencies have gone through minor changes. While 39 have been reconstituted with areas from one or more bordering seats added to them, 42 have been subjected to 'other types of changes'.
The EC, which yesterday published the gazette notification of freshly demarcated parliamentary seats, plans to finalise the list within June.
After 24 long years, it moved to delimit the boundaries of constituencies on a large scale, ignoring objections of the major political parties.
The last time the EC carried out a major demarcation was in 1984. Then in 1995, it brought some minor changes in the electoral boundaries.
Due to the long gap, disproportion grew in the sizes of constituencies population-wise.
According to the voter list prepared in 2001, each of 17 constituencies had voters below two lakh, each of six had voters over six lakh, seven had between five and six lakh while the number of voters in each of 19 constituencies ranged between four and five lakh.
The rest of the constituencies however were medium-sized in terms of voters.
Interestingly, the ceiling on election expenditure for the constituencies was the same, regardless of the number of voters.
Once the demarcation is finalised, there will be no major inconsistency between constituencies.
Asked if the decisions will hamper the electoral roadmap, CEC ATM Shamsul Huda said there is nothing to fear for the EC since the demarcation laws do not allow anyone to file a case against delineation of constituencies.
Speaking at a press briefing, he said, “Till June 1, we will receive objections of those aggrieved by our decisions. But a complainant will have to prove how he has been affected by the demarcation.”
The poll chief said the commission would attend to an objection only if it specifies non-compliance of the EC's guidelines on demarcation. “We can't look into matters relating to anyone's personal interests or inconvenience,” he added.
“The demarcation should have been done before the 2001 parliamentary election following the census report that year. We don't know why that didn't happen,” Huda said.
The EC has redrawn the boundaries of the seats in line with the criteria set out in the delimitation ordinance. Besides making sure the administrative units remain intact, it considered density of population and administrative convenience in the demarcation.
In line with the EC's decision, each of the three hill districts--Khagrachhari, Bandarban and Rangamati--was allocated one seat irrespective of their population.
Relatively small district Meherpur got two seats though it does not qualify for those.
INCREASE AND DECREASE OF SEATS
The number of seats in Dhaka division has risen by only four to 94 from 90 as four of its districts--Faridpur, Kishoreganj, Manikganj and Munshiganj--each lost a constituency while one constituency lying between Mymensingh and Netrakona was deleted from the parliamentary map.
Apart from Dhaka, Netrakona and Gazipur districts each got five seats, up from previous four.
Chittagong, Barisal and Khulna divisions--all have seen a decrease in the number of their constituencies.
In Chittagong division, each of Chandpur and Comilla districts lost a seat while Chittagong district has gained one, raising the number of its seats to 16.
In Barisal division, Barguna district lost a seat while a constituency between Barisal and Pirojpur was deleted from the constituency map.
In Khulna division, only Satkhira lost a seat. The number of parliamentary slots in Sylhet (19 seats) and Rajshahi divisions (72 seats) remain unchanged. Sirajganj under Rajshahi division lost a seat to Rajshahi City Corporation area.
CONFUSIONS AND ERRORS
Queried during the press briefing, the CEC could not say how many seats have changes in their boundaries.
Accompanied by the two election commissioners and secretary to the EC Secretariat, he suggested that the journalists would better go through the list and see for themselves the changes.
As per the lists journalists were given after the briefing, 148 seats had changes in their boundaries.
The list did not have names of some seats having boundaries marked out afresh while it included names of seats that do not have any change in territory.
As the errors and oversight were brought to the authorities' attention, the EC Secretariat officials started working on those and made necessary corrections.
SEATS WITH CHANGED BOUNDARIES
Late in the afternoon, the EC Secretariat sent the list of 133 constituencies whose boundaries have been changed. They are Kurigram 2 and 3, Bogra 1,4, 5, 6 and 7 Rajshahi 2 and 3, Sirajganj 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7, Jessore 3,4,5 and 6, Khulna 1,2,3 and 6 Satkhira 3 and 5, Barguna 1,2 and 3, Patuakhali 1 and 2, Barisal 2,3 and 4, Barisal with Pirojpur, Pirojpur 1,2 and 3, Tangail 5 and 6, Jamalpur 2,3,4 and 5, Mymensingh 1,2,3,4 and 7, Mymensingh with Netrakona, Netrakona 1, Kishoreganj 1,2 and 3, Manikganj 1,2,3 and 4, Munshiganj 1,2,3 and 4, Dhaka 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, 8,9,10,11,12 and 3, Gazipur 1,2,3 and 4, Narsinghdi 1,2,3 and 5, Narayanganj 2,3,4 and 5, Faridpur 2,3,4 and 5, Shariatpur 2 and 3, Sunamganj 4 and 5, Sylhet---1,2,3, and 4, Moulvibazar 1,2 and 4, Habiganj 1 and 4, Brahmanbaria 1,2,3,5 and 6, Comilla 1,2,6,7,9 and 11, Chandpur 1,2,3,4 and 6, Feni 2 and 3, Noakhali 1,2 and 3, Laxmipur 2 and 3, Chittagong 2,6,7, 8,9, 10, 13 and 14.

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