Elections and by-elections to some 133 local government bodies across the country were held on Thursday amid sporadic violence and allegations of vote-rigging, with one killed and scores injured.
Voting to 47 union parishads, by-elections to 72 UPs, and elections to seven municipalities, by-elections to four municipalities, election to an upazila parishad, and by-elections to two wards in Chittagong and Khulna city corporationsbegan in the morning amid heightened security measures, said SM Asaduzzaman, director of public relations at the Election Commission Secretariat.
The voting continued until 4pm.
In Tangail, a man was shot dead in violence erupting at a polling station in Sagardighi union of Ghatail upazila.
Deceased Abdul Malek, 32, a relative of Bulbuli Begum, a candidate for a seat reserved for women in Sagardighi union parishad, was the vice-president of a local unit of Jatiyatabadi Jubo Dal, the youth front of BNP.
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Voters waiting in a queue to cast their ballots at a polling station in Sagardighi union of Ghatail upazila of Tangail on Thursday Abdullah Al Numan/Dhaka Tribune
According to eyewitnesses, Habibullah Bahar, an independent candidate for the chairman post, Malek and locals tried to resist activists of the Awami League-backed candidate and incumbent chairman, Hekmat Shikdar, as they stuffed ballot boxes indiscriminately after routingthe agents of other candidates out of a polling centre. At one point, one of Shikdar’s men opened fire on the protestors, leaving Malek dead on the spot.
The dead body was sent to a hospital for autopsy. A tense situation has been prevailing in the locality since.
Voting at the centre remained suspended following the violence.
In Sunamganj, at least 10 people, including a deputy director of National Security Intelligence (NSI) and police constable, were injured as supporters of two candidates in the by-polls to the municipality got into a conflictover allegations of ballot snatching at a polling centre.
The wounded NSI official said hewas injuredwhen supporters of the two candidates started hurling brickbats at one another.
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Poling officers helping a voter cast her ballot at a polling centre in Fenchuganj upazila of Sylhet on Thursday Dhaka Tribune
Voting at the centre remained suspended for some time following the incident.
In Comilla’s Barura upazila, BNP-nominated candidate for the chairman post at South Shilmuri Union Parishad accused his rival, Awami League-backed candidate Md Farukh Hossain, and his men, of stuffing ballot boxes and forcing BNP’s agents out of different polling centres.
Candidates for the parishad’s member posts also accused Awami League men of ballot stuffing.
Asked about BNP candidate Md Shah Alam’s allegations, Md Abdul Mannan, presiding officer of Lagnasar polling centre, said: “BNP agents have not come to the centre.”
A voter, SufiaKhatun, alleged: “There has been no election to this union parishad in the last 20 years. After many years, we have had a chance to cast ballots, but Farukh and his men forcibly sent us home even before the start of the elections.”
Farukh could not be contacted as his phone was found turned off.
Bringing allegations against Awami League-nominated candidates of poll rigging, BNP-blessed candidates for the posts of chairman at three union parishads boycotted the elections and demanded fresh polls.
Eight union parishads went to elections in the upazila.