Ruling Awami League candidates secured victory in at least five municipalities out of seven where results were declared
The ruling Awami League backed candidates were heading toward a big victory in the first phase of municipality polls held in different districts on Monday.
The Election Commission (EC) on Monday organized elections to 24 municipalities under 23 districts in the country, and they were completed with some scattered incidents.
Voters cast their votes from 8am to 4pm using Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) to elect a mayor, three reserved seat councillors and nine general councillors for each of the municipalities.
As of 8pm Monday, Dhaka Tribune had received reports from nine municipalities where AL candidates were leading.
Election Commission Senior Secretary M Alamgir, while briefing reporters at his office in Agargaon, said the elections were fair and peaceful.
“As per reports of mass media and field administration, voting went well. The presence of voters was higher and it was peacefully held in all locations. The election was successful,” he claimed.
When asked about voter turnout, he said no centre across districts received less than 60% votes, while it was between 60% to 80% in some centres.
Meanwhile, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir demanded the resignation of the current Election Commission, calling them corrupt officials.
AL takes lead
Ruling Awami League candidates secured victory in at least five out of seven municipalities where results were declared.
In Betagi municipality of Bogra, Awami League nominated candidate ABM Golam Kibria became the mayor elect against the BNP candidate.
SM Iqbal Hossain Suman of Awami League won the election in Gafargaon of Mymensingh against his nearest rival BNP candidate.
Awami League candidate Abul Imam M Kamran won the mayoral race in Barlekha of Moulvibazar while Awami League candidate M Ramzan Ali bagged victory in Manikganj.
In Madan municipality of Netrokona, Awami League candidate Saiful Islam Saif unofficially won the mayoral race against his nearest candidate Modasser Hossain Shafik.
In Chuadanga, Awami League candidate Jahangir Alam Manik unofficially won the race against BNP Candidate Mujibul Haque Malik.
Awami League candidate Kaziul Islam unofficially became the mayor in Kurigram.
Independent candidates M Anwar Hawlader in Kuakata and Ekramul Haque (rival candidate of Awami League) in Pirganj of Thakurgaon won the elections in their municipalities.
Awami League mayoral candidates Kaziul Islam unofficially won the race in Kurigram municipality while Advocate Sakhawat Hossain gained victory at Chatmohor municipality of Pabna and Tarikul Islam in Khoksha of Kushtia.
A scuffle took place between supporters of the Awami League and BNP candidates on the Panchagarh Government Girls’ School premises. Police charged batons to bring the situation under control.
In contrast, Presiding Officer of Panchagarh Government Girls’ School voting centre Rubel Hossain said voting was going on in a peaceful manner inside the polling station.
Although the EC secretary claimed the election was peaceful, at least five motorcycles and vehicles of municipality returning officers were vandalized during chase-counter chases between councillor supporters.
In Sitakunda, voting was suspended for 25 minutes at a centre because of mismanagement.
Two independent mayoral candidates withdrew from the election at Chatmohor municipality in Pabna while BNP candidates at Shahjadpur in Sirajganj and Chalna in Khulna boycotted the election citing irregularities.
A journalist of Bangla Daily Prothom Alo was assaulted allegedly by Presiding Officer of Collegiate School Centre Azizul Haque while covering the election in Dhamrai.
When journalists asked the EC secretary on the incidents in Panchagarh and Sitakunda, he said necessary action will be taken following a complete report on the Panchagarh incident.
The EC secretary blamed miscreants for trying to snatch away EVM machines in the Shitakunda centre, which caused the interruption in vote casting.
"We have asked officials to lodge a case against the people involved in the incident," he said.
Regarding the Dhamrai incident, he said he had not received any complaints but would look into it and take action as per the reports of the authorities.
BNP mayoral candidate for Chalna municipality in Khulna’s Dakop upazila died on Monday after contracting Covid-19.
Election at a glance
The 24 municipalities where election was held on Monday includes -- Panchagarh in Panchagarh district, Pirganj in Thakurgaon, Phulbari in Dinajpur, Badarganj in Rangpur, Kurigram in Kurigram district, Puthia and Katakhali in Rajshahi, Shahjadpur in Sirajganj, Chatmohar in Pabna, Khoksha in Kushtia, Chuadanga, Chalna in Khulna, Betagi in Barguna, Kuakata in Patuakhali, Wazirpur and Bakerganj in Barisal, Gafargaon in Mymensingh, Madan in Netrakona, Manikganj, Dhamrai in Dhaka, Derai in Sunamganj, Barlekha in Moulvibazar, Shayestaganj in Habiganj and Sitakunda in Chittagong.
At least 93 mayoral aspirants, 831 candidates for councillor posts and 266 women candidates for reserved seats contested in the election, according to Election Commission.
The elections of 61 municipalities in different districts will be held in the second phase on January 16, and in 64 municipalities in the third phase on January 30, as per the schedule announced by the Election Commission.
The country has a total of 329 municipalities where 286 are prepared for elections and the rest 43 municipalities have different complexities and cases. The elections to the municipalities are expected to be completed by March or April next year, according to the EC.