In Rajshahi, the counting ended early and Awami League mayor contestant AHM Khairuzzaman Liton had won with a comfortable margin over his rival, with 166,394 votes in 138 polling centres. BNP’s Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul managed to get 78,492 votes
The Awami League mayor candidate has secured the Rajshahi City Corporation, and the candidate in Barisal is in lead. However, the ruling party has fallen behind its rival BNP in Sylhet city.
Elections to the three city corporations were held throughout the day on Monday, and vote counts began coming in soon after.
In Rajshahi, the counting ended early and Awami League mayor contestant AHM Khairuzzaman Liton had won with a comfortable margin over his rival, with 166,394 votes in 138 polling centres. BNP’s Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul managed to get 78,492 votes.
In Sylhet, Awami League’s Badar Uddin Ahmed Kamran was trailing behind with 85,870 votes in 132 centres against BNP candidate Ariful Haque Chowdhury’s 90,496.
In Barisal, Awami League candidate Serniabat Sadiq Abdullah bagged 109,803 while Mujibur Rahman Sarwar of BNP got 13,041 votes in 107 centres.
Voting ended at 4pm amid election boycott and allegations of rigging by BNP and other parties.
“We have been talking about the government’s blueprint to manipulate the elections in the three cities since the beginning, and it got exposed today,” said BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi at a press conference at the party’s Nayapaltan central office.
On the other hand the ruling party hailed the elections as free and fair.
“There was no report of causalities during the polls, and so we can’t say the election is not held in a free, fair and credible manner,” Obaidul Quader, the Awami League general secretary, said.
Most candidates reject polls in Barisal
In Barisal, BNP mayoral candidate Mujibur Rahman Sarwar, Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) contestant Abul Kalam Azad and Islami Andolon Bangladesh candidate Obaidur Rahman Mahbub boycotted the polls, alleging widespread vote rigging and other irregularities.
Awami League candidate Serniabat Sadiq Abdullah cast his vote at Government Barisal College Centre at 8am, while BNP candidate Mujibur Rahman Sarwar at Sayeda Mojidunnesa High School at 8:15am.
Sarwar, however, boycotted the polls bringing the allegation of vote rigging. He announced the decision at a press conference at Barisal Press Club at noon.
Besides, Islami Andolon Bangladesh candidate Obaidur Rahman Mahbub and Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) contestant Abul Kalam Azad pulled out of the election race citing the same allegations.
Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal candidate Manisha Chakrabarty and Jatiya Party candidate Md Iqbal Hossain also rejected the vote. Manisha said her polling agents were driven out of the voting centres and votes rigged at many centres.
They demanded the Election Commission postpone the polls.
Sarwar claimed that his polling agents were obstructed from entering at least 70-80 centres.
BNP candidate refuses to vote
In Rajshahi, Awami League’s AHM Khairuzzaman Liton cast his vote at Satellite Town High School around 8:30am.
BNP mayoral candidate Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul refrained from casting his vote protesting irregularities in the city corporation election.
The BNP mayoral candidate took position in front of Islamia College polling centre in the city’s Binodpur area protesting the ouster of the party’s polling agents from different polling stations.
Bulbul also alleged that BNP supporters were obstructed from casting their votes.
He also demanded the presiding officer make public how many ballot papers were there at the centre and threatened not to leave the place until he gets the account of the ballots.
Replying to a question from journalists, Bulbul said: “It is pointless to cast vote in such a country where there’s no democracy. I don’t want to create any problem. Which centre will I visit? Where can I resist rigging? So, I’ve taken a position right here and seeing the irregularities silently.”
Sporadic violence in Sylhet
In Sylhet, BNP candidate Ariful Haque Chowdhury cast his vote at Roynagar Government School at 8:30am and Awami League’s Badar Uddin Kamran at Government Pilot School Centre under ward 18 at 08:45am.
Councillor candidate and Jubo League leader Rimad Ahmed Rubel along with his supporters allegedly captured the polling centre at Khasdabir Government Primary School at 50 No ward around 9:45am and stuffed ballot boxes locking the door. Then voting in the polling centre had been suspended for an hour.
Besides, voting was suspended at Shahjalal Jamia Islamia Kamil Madrasah polling centre at Pathantula for 15 minutes following a clash between the activists of Awami League and Jamaat-e-Islami, said presiding officer Jamil Ahmed.
Meanwhile, police fired shots in the air at Kazi Jalal Uddin High School centre in ward 18 around 11am as the supporters of two councillor candidates captured the centre.
The voting came to a halt following the incident. A vehicle was also vandalized.
The city elections are the last major polls before the next general election expected to be held in December this year. l
Shohel Mamun and Dulal Abdullah from Rajshahi, Md Saidun Nabi and Md Serajul Islam from Sylhet, and Mahadi Al Hasnat and Anisur Rahman Swapan from Barisal contributed to this report