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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Preparations completed to hold Comilla City Corporation by-polls

  • Voting on Saturday
  • Voting will take place in 105 centres
Update : 09 Mar 2024, 02:37 PM

The Election Commission has completed all preparations to maintain a free and fair environment for Comilla City Corporation (COCC) by-polls, which will be held on Saturday. 

The four candidates will vie for the mayoral position in a closely contested competition.

Law enforcement officers have already taken positions at various centres. 

The city is in a festive mood surrounding this vote, which will be conducted through EVMs. The alleys are covered with posters. However, there is also anxiety among the general voters. Some are concerned about being obstructed or influenced at the booths. 

Therefore, the candidates have demanded that the entire Comilla be surrounded by a security cordon.

On Friday, voting equipment was distributed to various centres from Comilla Zilla School. 

Presiding officers, assistant presiding officers, and Ansar members received these materials.

 Earlier, police members were directed by Police Superintendent Abdul Mannan at the Comilla Stadium.

Four heavyweight candidates are contesting in this by-election. Among them are the expelled BNP leader Monirul Haque Sakku (Table Clock), the daughter of MP Bahar and Organizational Secretary of the city Awami League, Tahsin Bahar Suchi (Bus), leader of the Swechasebak Dal Nizam Uddin Kaiser (Horse), and Metropolitan Awami League unit advisor Noor ur Rahman Mahmud Tanim (Elephant).

According to the Comilla Returning Officer's office, the vote will take place in 105 centres across 27 wards. There are 118,282 male voters, 124,278 female voters, and two third-gender voters. 

There are 640 polling booths. There are 105 presiding officers, 640 assistant presiding officers, and 1,280 polling agents. Some 27 magistrates are involved. 

For the security of 105 centres, 450 members of BGB are deployed in 12 platoons. 

RAB has 27 teams with 939 members, the police have 27 mobile teams with 1,339 members, and there will be nine striking forces in the field. Five police members will be present at each centre throughout the time. Additionally, two teams from two police stations will serve as reserve forces.

SP Abdul Mannan stated that the entire Comilla is under surveillance. Along with visible law enforcement, plainclothes detectives will also be working. Immediate action will be taken if any disorder occurs.

Returning Officer Farhad Hossain said they want to apply all their capabilities in the COCC by-election. Law enforcement is in the field to prevent any untoward incident. Any negative incident will be addressed within five minutes by the force. 

On December 13, Comilla City Corporation mayor Arfanul Haque Rifat passed away while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Singapore. 

Later, on January 22, the Election Commission fixed March 9 for the by-polls. The government announced a public holiday on that day in the city.

The voting will be held through Electronic Voting Machine (EVM). 

The first election of this city corporation was held on January 5, 2012 and the second election of the city was held on March 30, 2017.

In 2012, Sakku contested as an independent candidate and defeated veteran Awami League leader Afzal Khan by over 35,000 votes in the first election to the city corporation. In 2017, he won against Afzal Khan’s daughter Anjum Sultana Sima by a margin of around 11,000 votes.

On June 15, 2022, the third election took place where late Rifat defeated Sakku in a tight battle -- by a margin of 343 votes.

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