Sammilita panel takes early lead in BGMEA polls
Atiqul Islam, left, leader of Sammilita Parishad, and Mahmud Hasan Khan, right, leader of Forum, pose for photographs during the BGMEA polls at the trade body's office in the capital yesterday. Photo: Star
Sammilita Parishad took an early lead in the biennial election to Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
The Sammilita camp led by Atiqul Islam, managing director of Islam Garments Ltd, won 567 'panel votes', trailed by its rival at 544, according to the election board.
The 'individual votes' were still being counted hours past midnight.
The polls yesterday registered an 88 percent turnout, the largest in the trade body's history.
A total of 2,812 out of 3,196 votes were cast at the voting centres in Dhaka and Chittagong, according to data from the election board.
“The voters came spontaneously even on the first working day of the week,” said Abdus Salam Murshedy, chief coordinator of the Sammilita Parishad panel.
The increasing clout of the association and the sector is the reason for the high voter turnout, Murshedy said.
“Many policies relating to the sector now depend on the BGMEA, so people came out in droves to ensure the next leader best represented their interests,” said Abdullah Al Mahmud Mahin, a directorial candidate from the Forum panel.
Sammilita Parishad and its rival panel, Forum led by Mahmud Hasan Khan, managing director of Rising Group, contested for the 2013-14 term.
Following the conclusion of voting, both the leaders said they would wholeheartedly accept the poll results.
“I am satisfied with the election arrangement. I have no complaints. I will concede whatever the result is,” Islam told the gathering media.
“I have no complaints as the election was held peacefully. I am satisfied with the arrangement of the election,” Khan said.
The election started at 8 in the morning and continued till 5 in the evening.
The election was originally scheduled to end at 4pm, but was extended by one hour as voters kept arriving.
In the election, the voters pick a total of 27 directors -- 20 from Dhaka and 7 from Chittagong -- for two years.
The elected directors then select a president and four vice-presidents, with the first vice-president coming from the Chittagong region.
The garment sector contributes around 80 percent to the country's total exports, with the sector raking in $19.09 billion in fiscal year 2011-12.
In July-January, the sector's earnings stood at $12.03 billion, a 19.96 percent rise year-on-year, according to the Export Promotion Bureau.
Furthermore, the amount was 2.63 percent higher than the target of $11.89 billion for the period.
Bangladesh is the second largest apparel exporting country after China in the world, with a 4.80 percent stake in the $412 billion market.