After the polls began at 8am, clashes erupted in Chittagong’s Sandwip, Bagerhat's Mongla, Cox's Bazar's Kutubdia and Maheshkhali, Khulna’s Digholia and Noakhali's Hatia areas
Sporadic incidents of violence, including clashes, gunfights and a bomb blast, marked Monday’s elections to 160 Union Parishads (UPs) and nine municipalities, which were previously postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
At least three people were killed and many injured, including with bullet wounds and shrapnel from a bomb blast, in poll-related violence.
After the polls began at 8am, clashes erupted in Chittagong’s Sandwip, Bagerhat's Mongla, Cox's Bazar's Kutubdia and Maheshkhali, Khulna’s Digholia and Noakhali's Hatia areas.
Finally, the polls closed at 4pm amid allegations of voter intimidation, ballot stuffing and irregularities.
In Bagerhat, voting in 599 centres across 65 unions began following a series of clashes. A woman died in pre-election violence Sunday night.
Fatema Begum, 70, was killed in Chandpai intersection of Mongla upazila.
Supporters of Chandpai Union Parishad member and candidate Matiar Rahman Moral and supporters of rival candidate Shafiqul Islam engaged in a clash injuring four people including Fatema, locals said.
Later, she was reportedly declared dead by the doctor at Mongla Upazila Health Complex.
Police detained two suspects from the spot.
Mongla police station OC Md Monirul Islam said, “The matter is under investigation. How she died would be known after an autopsy. We have detained two for interrogation.”
Meanwhile, three people were injured in a poll-related clash in Rajeshwa of Rayenda union in Sarankhola around 8am on Monday.
The three injured are supporters of Kabir Khan, a member candidate of the local union parishad vying with the football symbol.
The injured are Rezaul, Selim and Badsha. They were admitted to Khulna Medical College Hospital.
Voter turnout was low in the centres in the morning due to rain in the area.
Out of 65 union parishads in the district, 39 candidates of Awami League have been elected as chairman unopposed.
According to the Bagerhat District Election Office, polling was held in 65 out of 75 unions of Bagerhat District. A total of 3,121 candidates ran in the elections. There were 98 candidates for chairman, 768 candidates for reserved ward member, and 2,255 candidates for general ward member.
The total number of voters in these unions is 945,188. Electronic voting machines (EVM) were used in four unions of Fakirhat, Rampal and Mongla upazilas.
In Khulna, at least four people were injured in a bomb blast in Digholia upazila during a clash centring election to the Barakpur unionBarakpur union parishad.
The incident took place near the Uttarpara Government Primary School polling centre in ward 5 of the union at 12 noon on Monday.
The injured are Imran Sheikh, Ahad Sheikh, Kamal Mallick, and Alamgir Mollah.
Digholia police station OC Ahsan Ullah Chowdhury said: “The four injured in the bomb attack have been admitted to Khulna Medical College Hospital.”
Meanwhile, police recovered eight improvised explosive devices from the spot but were yet to make an arrest in this regard, he added.
In Cox’s Bazar, at least two people were killed and scores of others injured in poll-related violence.
A man was shot dead as two groups of supporters clashed while trying to take control of a polling centre in the Kutubjom union parishad (UP) under Maheshkhali upazila on Monday.
The deceased was identified as Abul Kalam, 40.
Police and locals said that supporters and activists of Awami League nominated chairman candidate Sheikh Kamal and rebel candidate Mosharraf Hossain Khokon tried to take control of the Noapara Madrasa polling centre at around 10am.
The situation escalated very quickly, resulting in a gunfight between rival supporters.
Kalam, a supporter Mosharraf Hossain Khokon, was shot during the altercation and died on the spot, confirmed Maheshkhali police station Officer-in-Charge (OC) Abdul Hai.
At least four people were also injured during the incident. They were taken to the Cox's Bazar District Sadar Hospital for treatment.
Meanwhile, another man was killed in election violence in Kutubdia’s Boroghop union.
The deceased, Abdul Halim, 30, was shot by the police during a clash at a polling centre on Monday noon. He was taken to Kutubdia Upazila Health Complex where doctors declared him dead.
Voting was suspended at the Pilatkata Government Primary School following the deadly incident.
Kutubdia police station OC Mohammad Omar Haider said: “The deceased was an Awami League leader. He was shot by law enforcers while trying to create a disturbance at the polling station. His father's name was Mohammad Hossain. He was a supporter of Abul Kalam, a candidate of the ruling party.”
Voting was held in 14 unions across four upazilas and in two municipalities in Cox’s Bazar.
According to the District Election Office, the number of voters in Maheshkhali municipality of the district is 19,484 and in Chakaria municipality 48,724.
Eight candidates contested for the post of mayor in two municipalities.
Meanwhile, the total number of voters in 14 unions of Pekua, Kutubdia, Maheshkhali, and Teknaf upazilas of the district is 311,234 people.
In Chittagong, supporters of UP chairman aspirants in Sandwip upazila clashed resulting in multiple injuries.
The injured were given primary treatment at local hospitals and clinics.
Sandwip police station OC Bashir Ahmed said the clashes broke out between the supporters of ruling Awami League candidate Faridur Rahman Kishore and independent candidate Mashiur Rahman Belal in Rahmatpur union.
Meanwhile, the supporters of two rival UP member aspirants similarly clashed in Sarikait union and Gachua union.
According to OC Bashir Ahmed, the situation is now under control and the votes ended smoothly in all the centres.
Voting was held in nine wards of Boalkhali municipality and 12 union parishads of Sandwip upazila.
The election for mayor of Boalkhali municipality was cancelled as the Awami League nominated candidate Zahurul Islam Zahur was elected unopposed.
This municipality, however, held elections for councillors and reserved positions. A total of 50 candidates vied for the position of councillor with eight individuals for the position of reserved councillor.
In the meantime, voting was held in 119 centres across 12 unions in Sandwip upazila, where the chairmen of the Magadhara, Bauria, Sarikait, and Haramiya unions were elected unopposed.
A total of 96 candidates ran reserved women's seats and 417 candidates for general membership positions across these 12 union parishads.
The unions of Maitbhanga, Mushapur, Azimpur, Rahmatpur, Harishpur, Gachhua, Santoshpur, and Amanullah held elections for chairman.
There are 162,645 registered voters in this upazila.
In Satkhira, polling was held in 21 unions of Kalaroa and Tala upazilas at 195 centres in 189 wards.
Rafiqul Islam Mollah, an independent UP chairman candidate from Koyla union under Kalaroa upazila, boycotted the election at around 10am Monday, over various charges, including the ousting of an election agent of a local polling centre.
“Awami League supporters are stuffing ballots at gunpoint,” he said.
He also alleged that they were preventing voters from going to the polling centre.
Meanwhile, Awami League candidate Asadul Islam said, Rafiqul announced boycott realizing sure defeat in the election and was now spreading propaganda to mar the election.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) decided to not take part in the polls this time around, which significantly took the excitement away from the UP polls.
In early June, the commission decided to postpone elections to 167 union parishads in Khulna, Bagerhat, Satkhira, Noakhali, Chittagong, and Cox's Bazar due to a surge in Covid-19 cases.
The voting began at 8am and continued till 4pm without any break.
Election campaigning came to an end at midnight on Saturday.
Candidates of other parties including Awami League and Jatiya Party (JaPa) contested in this year's UP polls.
According to EC sources, 44 candidates were elected unopposed for the post of chairman in 160 Ups, leaving 500 candidates for the post of chairman.
There were about 1,965 candidates for the reserved wards and 6,333 candidates in the general wards.
Meanwhile, out of nine municipalities, three candidates won unopposed as mayors at Langalkot in Comilla, Kabirhat in Noakhali and Boalkhali in Chittagong, leaving 27 mayoral candidates.
Our correspondents from the respective district contributed to this report