Voting will start at 8am and continue till 4pm at 289 polling centres around the city.
The run-up to the Khulna City Corporation election is getting more heated as the ruling Awami League and its rival BNP get ready for a battle of ballots.
“The Election Commission has taken all preparations to ensure a free, fair and acceptable election,” Returning Officer Yunus Ali to the Dhaka Tribune on Sunday.
Tight security measures have been put in place ahead of Tuesday’s election. He said a 29-member EC observer team was satisfied with the overall situation.
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Five candidates are vying for the mayor’s post but Awami League-backed Talukder Abdul Khaleque and BNP’s
Nazrul Islam Monju are leading the race.
Jatiya Party’s Shafiqur Rahman Musfiq, Communist Party of Bangladesh’s Mizanur Rahman Babu and Islami Andolon Bangladesh’s Mawlana Muzzammil Haque are also optimistic about victory.
Voters say they are not feeling it from the candidates this time.
This is the first time KCC election will be held under party banners. Some voters think that for this reason, political leaders and activists have been engaging within themselves more instead reaching out to the public.
Imrul Kayes, principle of Khulna City College, said that candidates had had less time for campaigning this time.
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“Also, the EC stopped candidates from erecting election camps,” he pointed out.
“Local election usually creates festive mood among the public but this time the candidates have failed to do that,” said Imrul.
The bad weather also affected campaigning. Storms and heavy rain tore up campaign banners and posters and stopped candidates from moving around on several occasions.
Many say they view this election as a warm-up for the political parties for ahead of the parliamentary polls scheduled for later this year.
Awami League’s Relief and Welfare Secretary Sujit Roy Nandi, who was in Khulna to campaign for Khaleque, said: “We have taken this polls seriously as the 11th general election is knocking at the door.”
The BNP chairperson’s press wing member Shamsuddin Didar, who campaigned for Monju in Khulna, said: “This election will be a turning point for us as the people will boycott the Awami League for their corruption and vote for the BNP candidate.”
Monju said he was worried that the ruling party would rig the election, adding: “I will win by a huge margin if the election is free and fair.”
But Khaleque appeared more optimistic about victory.
“Boat’s (Awami League’s electoral symbol) win is certain,” he said. “The Awami League is behind all the development in Bangladesh and the people of Khulna are going to votes for it.”
Voting will start at 8am and continue till 4pm at 289 polling centres. The city has 4,93,107 voters – 2,48,986 men and 2,44,527 women – in 31 wards.
Border Guard Bangladesh troopers, police, RAB, Ansar and VDP members have been deployed to ensure law and order while 49 executive magistrates and 10 judicial magistrates are also on duty.
Three to four platoons of BGB troopers have been kept as a reserve force.