Voting in Gazipur ends peacefully, counting begins

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Amid heavy security, the voting in the Gazipur City Corporation election has ended without any major incident. The counting of votes then started immediately at all polling centres across the city. The casting of ballots had started at 8am and ended at 4pm on Tuesday.

The polling centres were teeming with voters, who seemed to be in a festive mood despite inclement weather, since the early morning.

District Election Officer Md Tarifuzzaman said: “Cloudy skies in the morning may have deterred some people from heading out, but with the weather clearing up, people showed up en masse.”

With Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and police officials bolstering security around the city, there were also no reports of unrest.

However, voting was suspended at seven polling stations over various irregularities, said the district’s Deputy Commission Humayun Kabir.

In the polls, each voter had cast three votes, one to elect the next mayor, and the other two to elect general and reserved seat councillors.

A total of 1,137,736 voters were expected to exercise their franchise to elect a mayor and 76 councillors – 57 general ward councillors and 19 reserve women councillors – for a five-year term.

A public holiday was declared in the city corporation area for the election.

Gazipur, Bangladesh’s 11th city corporation, was formed in January 2013, and comprises Tongi and Gazipur municipalities.

Returning Officer Rakib Uddin Mondal earlier said 15,000 members of police, RAB and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) would remain deployed during the polls.

He said the voters would cast votes at 425 polling centres. However, 337 of them were marked as vulnerable or risky.

&dquote;&dquote;There are seven mayoral aspirants but election observers say the main fight will take place between Awami League’s Jahangir Alom and BNP’s Hasan Uddin Sarker.

The five other mayoral candidates are: Md Ruhul Amin of the Communist Party of Bangladesh, Md Jalal Uddin of Bangladesh Islami Front, Fazlul Haque Minar of Islami Oikkya Jote, Md Nasir Uddin of Islami Andolan Bangladesh, and independent candidate Farid Ahmed. 

There are 254 general councillor candidates competing for 57 posts—while 84 women are vying for the 19 reserved seats.

This election is taking place after the Khulna City Corporation one – which was won by Awami League candidate Talukder Abdul Khaleque amid controversy.

The ruling party and the Election Commission had called it a free and fair election, but BNP denounced it, claiming it was “full of irregularities.”

Analysts and polls observers say Gazipur is the last chance for the commission to regain the people’s trust in organizing a peaceful and acceptable election. source: Dhaka Tribune.

Bd24live/ HK

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