BTV reporter creates fake voter queue to ‘shoot live in advance’

BTV reporter creates fake voter queue to ‘shoot live in advance’

  • Dhaka Tribune  February 28th, 2019

BTV-fake queue

Male voters forms a fake queue leading to the Manarat Dhaka International College building. BTV’s senior reporter Sujan Halder on the right Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

A similar rush was also filmed of people leaving the building after supposedly casting their ballots, only for  BTV news report footage

With hardly a handful of voters exercising their franchise at four centres of Manarat Dhaka International College until 11:00 am on Thursday, one of its entrances saw a long queue from nowhere.

Around 11:05 am, at least 30 male voters formed a queue leading to the college building that houses the male section. Credit goes to the ‘wise and instant decision’ of state-run BTV’s senior reporter, Sujan Halder.

A similar rush was also filmed of people leaving the building after supposedly casting their ballots, only for  BTV news report footage.

Interestingly, the voters disappeared soon after Sujan’s fellow camera person completed filming the scene, with some of them interviewed about their observations on the voting atmosphere.

When asked why he created the long queue, Sujan said: “They were voters at the centre. I had them filmed anticipating that they may not be there all together for our live 12 o’clock bulletin.”

BTV Director General SM Haroon-or-Rashid declined to comment on the issue, saying he was unaware of the development.

Voters without polling agent cards 

The Dhaka Tribune reached three of the voters: Bappi Saha, Md Kabir, and Deen Mohammad. The three, accompanied by others, were visiting the centre frequently, but none of them possessed any polling agent cards.

Bappi, who identified himself as the polling coordinator of powerful Awami League candidate, Atiqul Islam, for the four centres, said he cast his vote at 10:30am.

This reporter had a brief conversation with him around 12:15 pm when he narrated the overall situation there.

According to Kabir, it was around 12:30 pm when he exercised his franchise, with Deen claiming the time to be 9:30am.

Replying to a query on what made him go inside the polling centre three hours after he cast his ballot, Deen said he took his wife, Runa Laila, to vote.

The college housed four centres, two each for male and female voters respectively. The number of male voters was 5,084, compared to 4,194 female voters.

Voter turnout

Turnout at the centres in the first five hours of the mayoral by-polls of Dhaka North City Corporation was so slim that less than 10% votes were cast by then.

Biru Bhushan Rai, presiding officer of one of the male voting centres, said some 200 voters were in all were seen until 12:45 pm.

Aminuddin Akhand, presiding officer of the other male voting centre, said no more than 450 votes were cast in their four booths by 1pm.

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