• Sunday, Sep 25, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

5th phase of municipality polls end amid sporadic violence, 1 killed in Saidpur

  • Published at 02:43 am February 28th, 2021
Municipality election
File photo: Voter signing up for biometric features to cast vote for Thakurgaon municipality election on Monday, December 28, 2020 Dhaka Tribune

Voting, using electronic voting machines (EVMs), had kicked-off from 8am and ended at 4pm, in 29 municipalities

Voting of the fifth phase of the municipality polls ended on Sunday with sporadic reports of irregularities, violence, and boycotts.

A man was killed in Nilphamari’s Saidpur municipality and several others were injured in polls related violence across the country.

Voting, using electronic voting machines (EVMs), had kicked-off from 8am and ended at 4pm, in 29 municipalities.

A total of 100 people contested for the post of mayor in the fifth phase, 1,318 people in the general councillor seats, and 366 people in the reserved councillor seats.

Voting was held in 637 polling stations and 4,323 polling booths.

On Sunday, voting also took place for the post of general councillor in Ward 31 of Chittagong City Corporation (CCC), Ward 8 of Shoulkathapa municipality of Jhenaidah, Ward 8 of Swarupkathi municipality of Pirojpur, and Ward 6 of Sirajganj Municipality.

Besides, by-elections will be held for the posts of Paba of Rajshahi, Madhukhali of Faridpur, and Debidwar Upazila Parishad of Comilla.

By-elections were also held for the posts of chairman of four upazila parishads and various other posts in 14 union parishads.

Voter turnout, in most parts, was satisfactory as citizens were seemingly able to exercise their rights to franchise peacefully.

However, there have been reports of clashes, vote-rigging, and polling centre domination leading to a boycott of the polls.

In Saidpur, a man was killed in a clash between some supporters of two councillor candidates.

Police identified the deceased as Chhoton Adhikari, 51. 

Meanwhile, four people, who had sustained injuries during the skirmish, were taken to the hospital for treatment, said Saidpur police station OC Abul Hasnat Khan.

The whole matter will be investigated and the culprits will be identified and arrested, he added. 

According to police, several followers of two councillor candidates of ward No. 5 of the municipality, Nazrul Islam Royal and Akhter Hossain Fekur, became embroiled in a clash around 11:30am on the day.

Chhoton Adhikari was severely injured in the clash and was taken to Saidpur Upazila Health Complex where the doctor on duty pronounced him dead. 

Resident physician Dr Omidul Hasan said Chhoton had signs of injuries on several parts of his body including his head.

Also read: Municipality polls: Expectations and frustration in voters

In Jhenaidah, BNP-backed mayoral candidates boycotted the polls alleging vote-rigging and removal of agents from polling centers.

Mahbubar Rahman, BNP’s mayoral candidate in Kaliganj municipality, said his agents had been thrown out of the polling centres while his supporters had been barred from entering them.

Meanwhile, BNP nominated mayoral candidate in Moheshpur municipality, Amirul Islam Khan, accused the administration of vote-rigging along with removing his agents from the voting centres.

He announced the decision at a press conference held around 2pm.

In a separate incident in the same municipality, BGB 56 Captain Kamrul Ahsan was accused of misbehaving with journalists while they were carrying out their professional duties.

Contacted, Jhenaidah Press Club President M Raihan said: “Such misbehaviour from a senior BGB official is not desirable at all. The fact that he [Kamrul] obstructed the reporters from fulfilling their professional responsibilities is reprehensible. We strongly condemn this incident.”

In Jamalpur, BNP nominated mayoral candidate Advocate Wares Ali Mamun along with 14 other councillor candidates boycotted the polls alleging irregularities and vote-rigging.

He, during a press briefing on Sunday noon, said: “Voting in this whole municipality was rigged. Awami League is behind this as they took the fingerprint of BNP supporters and voted on symbols of their candidates.”

Mamun also demanded re-election with a “fair and free” election environment. 

However, the Awami League nominated mayoral candidate, District Awami League Organizational Secretary Md Saowar Hossian Sanu denied such allegations.

In Bogra, a councillor candidate named Abdur Rahim of Ward No. 12 was fined Tk10,000 for violating the electoral code of conduct.

Magistrate Raunak Jahan's mobile court imposed the fine. 

According to sources, Rahim was disrupting the voting environment at the polling station in the City Girls High School. He and his supporters were trying to gather in front of the voting centre in a show of power.

Police, RAB, and BGB members were on high alert during polling to ensure fair voting. Magistrates were on the ground to keep law and order normal. Vehicles were banned in the polling areas.

The fifth phase schedule was announced on January 19 for 31 municipalities. Saidpur Municipality was added to this stage from another stage. 

On the other hand, due to the verdict of the High Court, the voting in Jessore municipality was postponed.

In Chittagong's Raozan municipality, candidates for all posts including mayor and councilor have won unopposed. 

The Election Commission (EC) indefinitely postponed the Dewanganj municipality election in Jamalpur ahead of the polls. 

On Sunday, votes were cast in various municipalities under Chittagong, Laxmipur, Chapainawabganj, Habiganj Sadar, Jamalpur, Madarganj and Islampur, Rajshahi, Bogra Sadar, Manikganj, Bhola's Sadar and Charfesson, Keshabpur and Syedpur, Madaripur Sadar and Shibchar, Brahmanbaria Sadar, Jhenaidah's Kaliganj and Maheshpur.

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