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Dhaka Tribune

KCC polls: Voters claim slow pace in voting via EVM, presiding officer refutes

Long lines of voters were observed at several polling centres

Update : 12 Jun 2023, 01:23 PM

Voting in Khulna City Corporation (KCC) election is reportedly proceeding at a slow pace on Monday. 

The first hour of voting saw only a 5% turnout, varying between 7-13% in the second hour and hitting 21% by 11am on the third hour. 

However, presiding officers refuted the claim and reported that the voting is proceeding at a normal pace.

Nipa Khan, who is exercising her franchise for the first time, came to cast her vote at the Shaheed Sheikh Abu Naser Secondary School centre in ward no 20. She said her experience was smooth as it only took about 20 seconds for her to cast the vote. 

“This is my first time voting with the EVM. There were no issues. However, I had to wait in line for quite some time,” she said. 

The presiding officer of this school's centre no 161, Rabiul Islam Khan, stated that in the first two hours, 155 votes were cast out of 1,592 registered voters, indicating a 9% turnout, which he deemed usual.

Meanwhile, the presiding officer of centre no 163, Mirza Taufiqul Azam, revealed that his centre received 266 votes out of 1,267 voters by 11am, representing a 20.99% turnout.

Long lines of women voters were observed at the Islamabad Collegiate School and College centre in ward no 19. 

Jahanara Begum, a resident of Bismillah neighbourhood in the same ward, shared her frustration: "I came here early to cast my vote and return home. It is 9am, and still, 9 people are in front of me. The line seems to be not moving at all."

Complaints about prolonged standing were shared by voters, such as Shahinur Begum who expressed that her waist was hurting from hurting. 

“If I knew it would take this long, I would have come in the afternoon,” said an annoyed Shahinur. 

This school centre, with a total of 2,094 voters, saw 166 votes cast in the first hour.

Mithun Sarkar, the presiding officer at the Islamabad Collegiate School and College centre, said that the initial delay was due to the necessity of explaining the voting process to each voter but assured that the pace was picking up gradually.

Another voting centre at Government MM City College in ward no 27, with 1,630 registered voters, recorded only 27 votes in the first hour.

At Khalishpur Secondary School, 24 votes were cast in the first hour from 2,019 registered voters.

Voting for the 31 wards of Khulna City Corporation (KCC) polls began at 8am on Monday. 

The voting is taking place via electronic voting machines (EVMs) at 289 centres and will continue till 4pm. 

As many as 535,522 voters, including 268,828 men and 266,698 women, are expected to cast their votes in the KCC polls.

In the KCC polls, five candidates are vying for the mayoral post. They are AL-backed Talukder Abdul Khaleque (boat), Jatiya Party's Shafiqul Islam Modhu (plough), Bangladesh Islami Andolon's Moulana Abdul Awal (hand Fan), Zaker Party's SM Sabbir Hossain (rose) and independent candidate Shafiqur Rahman Mushfiq (table clock).

Some 134 candidates are in the race for councillors' posts in 29 general wards and 39 for (women's) reserved seats. Two councillors for wards 13 and 24 have already been elected unopposed. 

Around 8,300 members of the law enforcement agencies including 4,520 policemen have been deployed in the city. Also, there are 11 platoons of Border Guard Bangladesh for the election. Plus, 16 striking forces of the Rapid Action Battalion have been deployed in the KCC polls.

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