The Chattogram City Corporation (CCC) election ended on 27 January amid allegations of widespread clashes and casualties, as well as unprecedentedly low turnout – with less than 5% of votes cast at 73 out of 733 centres.
The lowest turnout was 1.36% in Halishahar Ahmed Mia City Corporation Girls School centre under ward 38, where only 42 out of 3,082 registered voters voted. In the 2010 election, the turnout was 21.33% at the centre.
Meanwhile, there were only 10 centres with 90-93% turnout. Among these, the highest turnout was at the Ayya Ulum Arabia Madrasa centre with 93.82% turnout. Out of 3,108 voters, 2,916 people voted. In 2015, the turnout was 74.5%.
The total turnout at 733 centres was 22.49%. Out of 19,38,706 voters, only 4,36,039 voted.
Analysing the results of the Returning Office, it was found that there were 12 centres where less than 2% of votes were cast.
Additionally, the results submitted to the office of the Returning Officer show in many centres of Rampur ward 25, more than 90% of votes were cast. The turnout at Rampur Natun Bazar Government Primary School was 90%. At three centres of View Point School in Halishahar's H Block area, the turnout was 90.01% at Male Centre, 90% at Women's Centre 1 and 90% at Women's Centre 2.
In the 2015 elections, the turnout at these three centres was 36.62%, 24.92% and 53.88%, respectively.
Experts say voters did not go to the polls because of the lack of a level playing field and clashes with Awami League rebel candidates.
According to the Election Commission Office, in the 2010 CCC elections, the turnout for the post of mayor was 54.56% at 673 centres. In that election, 5% of votes were cast in one centre, 10% in two centres, 15% votes in three centres, and 20% in the two centres.
Additionally, in 2015, 719 centres got 47.90% votes for the post of mayor. Of these, more than 10% of votes were cast at six centres, over 15% in six centres and 20% in three centres.
Experts concerned say ruling party leaders and outsiders were waiting outside the centres the night before the election to prevent candidates outside the ruling party from going to the polls. Also, clashes between Awami League nominees and rebel candidates for the post of councillor in most of the centres created a frightening atmosphere.
However, Returning Officer Hasanuzzaman said the election was fair except for a few isolated incidents.
Awami League nominee Rezaul Karim Chowdhury said the CCC election was held with the spontaneous participation of the people.
However, BNP candidate Shahadat Hossain has termed the election a farce.
Chattogram Socheton Nagorik Committee President Advocate Akhtar Kabir Chowdhury said, "It cannot be said this election has been fair. Voters were unable to cast their ballots as people from the ruling party took positions inside and outside the polling stations. Voters did not come to the centres out of fear. The presence of so few voters in the election is unprecedented. How is it possible that at some centres, the turnout is only 2% whereas in other centres it is over 90%?"