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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

UPAZILA POLLS 

EC unconcerned of turnout as 2nd phase of balloting takes place Tuesday

  • Voting from 8am to 4pm
  • 1,824 candidates are in the electoral race in the 156 upazila parishads
Update : 21 May 2024, 10:27 AM

The second phase of the sixth upazila parishad election will be held with the balloting in 156 different upazilas in Bangladesh on Tuesday. 

The balloting will take place from 8am.

With security beefed up, the voting will continue till 4pm without any break in 156 upazilas.

Electronic voting machines are being used at 24 upazilas in nine districts, while the traditional ballot papers in the rest upazilas.

However, according to the polls schedule announced on April 2, the voting was planned for 157 upazilas where there were 599 chairman candidates.

Some 1,824 candidates, including 603 chairman contenders are now contesting in the 156 upazila parishads, against a total of 468 posts –-chairman post, vice chairman and women vice chairman posts in each upazila.

More than 3.52 crore voters – 1,79,05,464 males, 1,72,99,047 females and 237 transgender persons -- are registered under 13,016 polling stations in the upazilas, according to the Election Commission (EC).

As it did in the first phase, the BNP boycotted the second round of voting too. However, the candidates with the backing of the ruling Awami League remained in the polls fray. 

Briefing the media about the preparations taken for the polls, Election Commissioner Md Alamgir on Monday said that the EC was not concerned about voter turnout percentages.

But on Sunday, he said that voter turnout is expected to increase this time around.   

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

He on Monday emphasized that there are no specific rules or restrictions regarding the percentage of votes required for elections, whether national or local, to be accepted.

Election Commissioner Alamgir said: “Voters are willing to vote. They will come to the centres. The low voter turnout is due to the paddy harvesting season and adverse weather conditions.”

He added: "The turnout is not a matter of trust or distrust in the EC. It is low due to the absence of preferred candidates and natural calamities. However, the EC is not responsible for the percentage of voter turnout to make the election satisfactory."

When asked if he considered the second phase of voting and low voter participation a challenge, Alamgir responded: "A large number of law enforcement personnel have been deployed to ensure the second phase of voting can be conducted smoothly, just as we did in the first phase. Tomorrow’s (Tuesday) election will be no different. The commission’s duty is to keep the elections peaceful, and there is no lack of sincerity on our part. Voter turnout is declining worldwide for various reasons, including the absence of appealing candidates."

He further commented: "The BNP is distributing leaflets urging a boycott of the vote, which is their political right. However, if there is any violence, the returning officer will take action. It is incorrect to say there is no confidence in the commission; we always work peacefully and impartially without bias towards anyone.

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.

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