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Polls in 60 municipalities end amid stray violence

| Updated: January 17, 2021 08:54:04

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Polls in 60 municipalities end amid stray violence

Voting in the second phase elections to 60 municipalities concluded on Saturday amid stray incidents of violence and irregularities.

Balloting started around 8:00am and continued until 4:00pm without any break.

Two major political parties – Bangladesh Awami League and BNP participated in most of the election areas.

Electronic Voting machines (EVMs) were used in 29 municipalities while traditional ballot papers in the remaining areas.

According to reports reaching the UNB news desk, the municipality elections were marked by stray incidents of violence, boycott and suspension of voting

In Feni, three people including a policeman and an Ansar member were injured as a crude bomb was exploded at Gonipur Government Primary School polling station in Dagonbhuiya upazila during the municipality election.

Witnesses said a chase and counter chase took place between the supporters of councillor candidates and ruling party-backed candidates at the polling station.

At one stage, an explosion took place during the scuffle, leaving three people including a cop, a member of Ansar and a supporter of a councillor candidate injured.

BNP- backed Mayoral candidate Kazi Saiful Rahman Swapan alleged that the ruling party men are involved in the crude bomb blast.

Some 24,253 people were scheduled to exercise their franchise using EVMs in the municipality.

Four mayoral candidates—AL -backed candidate Omar Faruk Khan, BNP- backed candidate Kazi Saiful Rahman Swapan, Jatiya Party’s Binod Bihari Bhoumik and independent candidate Tarek Aziz Khan have been contesting the polls.

Already three female and four male councillors have been elected unopposed.

In Rajshahi, BNP-backed mayor candidate Abdur Razzaq of Bhobaniganj Municipality in Bagmara upazila boycotted the polls at 10:30am.

He came up with the announcement after AL- backed candidate’s supporters allegedly prevented him from casting his own vote at Shaheed Memorial High School polling station in the morning.

However, AL-backed candidate and incumbent Mayor Abdul Malek denied the allegation.

Vote casting was suspended at Walinewaz Khan College polling station in Kishoreganj municipality over irregularities at 2 pm.

Returning Officer Md Ashraful Islam confirmed the matter.

In Bagerhat, the voters in Mongla municipality cast their votes using EVM for the first time.

Bagerhat District Election officer and returning officer Farazi Benazir Ahmed said voting in the municipality was going on peacefully amid tight security.

In Faridpur, voting in Boalmari municipality was held amid festive mood.

A long queue of female voters was seen at Boalmari Government Girls High School, Solna Model Primary School and Sutashi Primary School polling centres around 8:30 am.

Returning Officer Mohammad Habibur Rahman said voting was held in a peaceful manner.

In Kushtia municipality, police arrested two youths while they were casting fake votes, said Executive Magistrate MA Muhaimin Al Jihan.

Legal action will be taken against them, he said.

Ballot papers were sent to the polling stations on Saturday morning and the EVMs were sent to the election areas on Friday.

AL candidates vied for the mayoral posts in all municipalities but BNP-backed contestants contested for the post in 55 municipalities.

Jatiya Party-backed mayoral candidates in 11-12 municipalities.

Three Awami League's mayoral candidates – Golam Hasnain in Bhangura of Pabna, Habibur Rahman Maleque in Pirojpur and Hasina Gazi in Tarabo of Narayanganj – have already been elected unopposed.

Alongside Bhangura, Pirojpur and Rupganj, there is no BNP mayoral candidate in two other municipalities – Belkuchi of Sirajgani, Mohonganj of Netrakona.

The polls to only the mayoral posts were held with the use of election symbols of political parties, while election to the councillors posts and reserved seats in non-partisan manner.

A total of 216 mayoral candidates contested in 60 municipalities, while 724 women contestants were in the race for reserved seats and 2,234 contenders vied for councillor posts.

On December 22, the Election Commission announced the second phase election scheduled for 61 municipalities, but polls to Syedpur municipality in Nilphamari was postponed following the death of a mayoral candidate.

The 60 municipalities include Nageshwari in Kurigram, Kakanhat, Arani and Bhabaniganj in Rajshahi, Birampur, Dinajpur and Birganj in Dinajpur, Gaibandha and Sundarganj in Gaibandha, Naldangha, Gurudaspur and Gopalpur in Natore, Nazirpur in Naogaon, Sherpur, Santahar and Sariakandi in Bagura, Iswardi, Bangura, Faridpur, Santhia and Sujanagar in Pabna, and Ullapara, Belkuchi, Siranjganj, Raiganj and Kazipur in Sirajganj.

The municipalities also include Kushtia, Beramara, Kumarkhali and Mirpur in Kushtia, Gagni in Meherpur, Shailkupa in Jhenaidah, Mongla port in Bagerhat, Pirojpur, Shariatpur, Magura, Boalmari in Faridpur, Tarabo in Narayanganj, Savar in Dhaka, Dhanbari in Tangail, Fulbaria and Muktagacha in Mymensingh, Mohonaganj and Kendua in Netrakona, Kishoreganj and Kuliarchar in Kishoreganj, Monohardi in Narsingdi. The rest municipalities are Chhatak, Sunamganj and Jagannathpur in Sunamganj, Madhabpur and Nabiganj in Habiganj, Kulaura and Kamalganj in Moulvibazar, Chandina in Cumilla, Basurhar in Noakhali, Sandwip in Chattogram, Khagrachhari, and Lama in Bandarban.

The first phase election to 24 municipalities was held on December 28, while the third phase election to 64 municipalities will be held January 30 and the fourth phase polls to 56 municipalities on February 14 next, reports UNB.

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