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Dhaka Tribune

Upazila polls: Election Commission eyes bigger turnout in second phase

599 people are fighting for chairman posts in 157 upazilas

Update : 20 May 2024, 12:23 AM

Voters will show more interest in exercising their franchise in the second phase of the nationwide upazila elections, slated for tomorrow, compared to the first round of balloting, said Election Commissioner Md Alamgir.

“In continuation of the general election, the first phase of the upazila polls was held fairly. Dealing with some issues through our experiences, we hope the next phase will be even fairer,” he said, adding that voter turnout is expected to increase this time around.   

He was talking to reporters at the EC office in the capital on Sunday to describe the preparations taken for the election to 157 upazilas across the country.

In the 157 upazilas, 599 are contesting for chairman post while 689 for vice-chairman and 523 for vice-chairman posts reserved for women.

“The administration and the police have been alert to ward off any unwarranted situation during the voting,” he said.

“It will be made sure that voters can exercise their franchise without facing any obstacle. But we can’t predict the voter turnout,” the election commissioner said.   

In the first phase of the sixth Upazila Parishad election on May 8, an average of 36.1% votes were cast in 139 upazilas. 

Security beefed up

A total of 457 platoons of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) were deployed on Sunday to maintain law and order ahead of the second phase of the Upazila Parishad elections.

The members of the paramilitary force will remain deployed from till May 23.

During the 1st phase election, a total of 418 BGB men were deployed.

Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun told the media in Sylhet on Sunday that they always carry out the orders of the EC.

“In the past, the police neutrally and skillfully discharged their election duties,” he said, vowing to continue doing so. 

In the third phase, 112 upazilas will go to polls on May 29 while the fourth and last phase voting will be held in 55 upazilas on June 5.

As per the EC’s plan, Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) will be used in 24 upazilas in the second phase, 21 upazilas in the third phase, and only two upazilas in the fourth phase.

The ruling Awami League has already endorsed the polls, but its arch-rival BNP boycotted the voting and urged the people to do the same. 

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