By-elections in the Lakhsmipur-2 constituency of former member of parliament, Mohammad Shahid Islam, popularly known as Kazi Papul, is to take place on Monday. The election will introduce the use of electronic voting machines (EVM) for the first time in a Lakhsmipur constituency.
Papul, who came to power in 2018 by defeating a Jatiyo Party candidate, was stripped of his seat after he was convicted in Kuwait for human trafficking.
Sheikh Fayez Ullah Shipon, a central leader of the Jatiya Party, will compete against Awami League candidate, Advocate Nur Uddin Chowdhury Noyon, on Monday, to take hold of the vacant seat.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party has boycotted the election, despite having a strong presence in the constituency.
Noyon, general secretary of district Awami League, is the favoured candidate in winning the election, considering JP's decreasing number of their supporters in the constituency in recent years, according to locals.
AL leaders have expressed strong support for Noyon after their last-backed candidate was removed from the parliamentary seat. Central to grassroots activists and leaders of the ruling party campaigned in support of him.
The Laxmipur-Raipur parliamentary constituency has the 10 unions of Raipur, one municipality, and 9 unions of Sadar upazila, with 4,02,963 eligible voters. Voting will take place across 136 polling centres, of which 97 are considered risky by security forces.
On this day, by-elections will also take place in six more unions of Ramgati and Kamalnagar in Lakhsmipur district. However, voting in these elections will take place using ballot paper as before.
The district has one parliamentary seat and six union parishads with a total of 193 centres. Of these, 160 centres are considered risky by security officials. Along with law enforcement, 16 BGB platoons have been deployed to maintain security in the centres.
By-election in Papul's constituency was due to be held on 11 April, according to an earlier announcement of the Election Commission in March. But it was postponed considering the Covid-19 pandemic situation in the country
He was arrested by Kuwait's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on charges of human trafficking and money laundering on 6 June 2020. Major General Sheikh Mazen Al-Jarrah, the assistant under-secretary to Kuwait's Ministry of Interior, was also removed from his post for his association with Papul on 30 June of the same year.
Earlier, in February of last year, local and foreign media published reports about his involvement in human trafficking in Kuwait.
Paul's trial officially began in September 2020. Finally, on 26 January of this year, a Kuwaiti court sentenced him to 4 years in prison.
He is the first Bangladeshi MP to be convicted on foreign soil.