In stark contrast to tradition, Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda announced that he and the election commissioners would not brief the media on the city polls, two hours after voting ended for the Dhaka north and south city corporations on Saturday.
As the CEC was leaving the Election Commission headquarters around 7:15pm, he was confronted by a media scrum. Huda expressed his satisfaction with the city polls while speaking to the journalists.
"I think that voter turnout was less than 30 percent," he said.
Responding to allegations that BNP-backed candidates' polling agents had been driven away from a number of polling centres, the CEC said that the commission had not received any formal complaints on the issue.
Discussing the use of EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines), Nurul Huda said that the voters had cast their ballots easily.
Earlier at 11am, the CEC told journalists that polling officials and law enforcement personnel had been instructed to immediately escort polling agents back to the centres and ensure their safety, if complaints were received regarding their abuse.
"We visited a polling centre with a poor presence of voters. Although it was morning, we were expecting that voters would come later," the CEC had said after casting his vote at the IES School and College in Uttara.
The CEC also requested the candidates, their supporters and voters to keep a congenial atmosphere for peaceful voting, adding that the polling agents had to make a serious effort to stay inside polling centres.
Replying to a comment that many senior citizens had failed to cast their votes by using the EVMs through fingerprint identification, Huda said that voters could cast their votes by using other methods such as national identity cards or voter numbers.
Responding a queryon whether the EC had failed to create trust among voters, he said, "The crucial responsibility of bringing voters to the polling centres lies with the candidates and their campaigners.
"The commission had taken all necessary preparations and created a congenial polling atmosphere. All the polling officials and law enforcement agencies were given necessary training."
On a separate note, Election Commissioner Mahbub Talukder told journalists that violations of the electoral code of conduct during election campaigns and voting had disheartened him.
He said, "The election was peaceful except for a few isolated incidents of violence. The biggest achievement of using the EVMs is that no centre had 100 percent votes cast in this election.
"There was no scope of ballot stuffing the night before, so no one can accuse us of tampering with the ballots."
"Ever since the announcement of the election process, attempts towards disruption had badly disheartened me," said Talukder, who added, "The idea of order would not exist if the attempts had not been subdued."
Electronic voting for the two Dhaka city corporation polls opened at 8am and continued till 4pm without any break.