• Wednesday, Jun 19, 2019
  • Last Update : 05:17 pm

Upazila polls: Deaths, clashes, suspensions vie with low turnout

  • Published at 01:24 am April 1st, 2019
Web_Upazila polls
File photo of a voter casting ballot during an election in Bangladesh, Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Most polling centers reported fairly low voter attendance

If low turnout was an issue during the ongoing upazila parishad elections, the spree of incidents on Sunday has thrown in sturdy competition to put a dampener on the polls.

In the 107 upazilas, 25.5 million people were expected to cast their votes. While election was scheduled for 122 upazilas, all candidates had won unopposed in 15 upazilas. 

Three die from stroke

Three deaths by cardiac arrests have been reported during the fourth phase of the upazila polls in Jessore and Tangail.

On Saturday night around 10pm, BGB Naib Subedar Rafiqul Islam, 50, attached to the polling center in Jessore’s Bagharpara Degree College, complained of chest pains in the barracks. His comrades rushed him to the local medical facility, where the doctors pronounced him dead.

In Tangail’s Sakhipur, a UP member who was working as a polling agent died of heart attack.

Azharul Islam Raja, 40, was at the Jogirkopa Madrasa polling center when he fainted around 9:30am on Sunday. He was taken to the local medical facility where he was declared dead.


Also Read- Election commissioner asks why zeal in upazila polls was missing in national polls


Also in Sakhipur, an Ansar-VDP trooper named Mujibur Rahman, 50, complained of chest pains around Sunday dawn. He was sent to Tangail General Hospital where he died in the afternoon.

Mujibur was attached to the Dariapur Akandpara Government Primary School.

Clashes

Most polling centers reported fairly low voter attendance.

In Munshiganj, two people were shot immediately after the voting ended at a polling center. Both injuries are severe, with one having taken a bullet in the chest and the other shot in the throat. Md Faisal, 32, and Ruhul Amin, 45, have both been transferred to Dhaka Medical College Hospital for advanced treatment.

Police are working under the impression the shooting was unrelated to the election and have suggested it was due to personal enmity.

In Narayanganj, police arrested two supporters of an independent candidate when they set off two bombs to scare people off at a polling centre. 

Police were informed that bombs had gone off at Borab Government Primary School polling centre in Sonargaon upazila. When police arrived, the bombers attempted to flee. While several got away, two were detained by the police.

Suspensions

In Comilla, voting was suspended at four centers after allegations of vote tampering, attempts to occupy the polling centres, and chases and counter-chases.

The chases and counter-chases injured a UP member and a polling agent.

A police officer, Assistant Sub-Inspector Masud, has been closed for entering theShahapur Government Primary School centre in plainclothes.

In Bagerhat, election was conducted via EVMs in the nine upazilas. The low turnout spoke volumes, and at the end of the day, officers tallied that only 24.9% of registered voters had come in.


Also Read- Upazila polls: Voting suspended at 4 centres in Comilla


In Savar, a presiding officer was detained after it was discovered he was casting fake votes in Kandapatal Govt Primary School in Dhamrai.

Tauhid Zaman from Jessore, Abdullah Al Numan from Tangail, Shamima Rita from Narayanganj, Tanjil Hasan from Munshiganj, SM Shamsur Rahman from Bagerhat, Masud Alam from Comilla, and Nadim Hossain from Savar contributed to this story.