Fear factor behind low turnout
Political interference and fear of clashes between candidates' followers were among the main reasons behind low turnout in yesterday's Upazila Parishad polls.
Besides, participation of controversial candidates in the election, less awareness among voters about the polls and holding it only three weeks after the parliamentary elections also contributed to low turnout, said voters, election observers and officials while talking to The Daily Star.
Officials involved in the election process assumed that about 50 to 60 percent votes had been cast in the upazila polls from 8:00am to 4:00pm.
The upazila polls were held only three weeks after the ninth parliamentary elections on December 29 last year that witnessed a turnout of 87 percent voters.
Voter turnout was poor in most polling centres in the morning and got momentum after 2:00pm, election officials said.
About 20 to 30 percent votes were cast in most polling centres across the country by 12:00noon. Vote casting went up to 40 to 50 percent by 3:00pm and reached 60 percent in the end, presiding officers and election officials said.
In many areas, a large number of voters panicked following violent incidents involving followers of the candidates.
There were allegations that the supporters of Awami League-backed candidates barred voters from going to the polling centres in several districts.
The turnout of female voters was not satisfactory in many districts in the yesterday's polls compared to the recently held parliamentary elections.
Many young voters also refrained from casting votes in the upazila election.