Awami League’s Selina Hayat Ivy and BNP-supported Shakhawat Hossain are the two top mayor hopefuls among six. They were satisfied with the election environment as of yesterday and hoped that the congenial atmosphere would sustain.
Some 9,000 members of different law enforcement agencies took charge of the 174 polling centres in the city to ensure full-proof security during the election that will take place from 8am to 4pm.
Moreover, 31 mobile teams of RAB and one magistrate for each of the 27 wards will discharge their duties.
The BNP-backed mayor candidate earlier sought army deployment, expressing concerns over security. But the EC rejected the proposal claiming that there was no need to deploy army, even though 137 polling centres have been declared vulnerable or risky.
It is the last election conducted under the incumbent EC.
“We urge the voters to go the polling centres and cast their votes without any hesitation and fear. This election will be an example of perfect election,” Returning Officer Md Nuruzzaman Talukder said.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Mahfuzul Haque Nuruzzaman said that there would be no violence during the election.
“We do not want this election to be a questionable one. It will be a free and fair election, for sure,” he told reporters.
“There is no chance of incidents like looting of ballot boxes during the poll,” he said responding to a query.
“If the Election Commission thinks it necessary to change the officer-in-charge of a police station, there is no objection from the police,” he said, adding that he did not see any necessity.
District Police Superintendent Moinul Haque said that 4,000 police members, 2,600 from RAB, 3,000 Ansar members, and 22 platoons BGB had been already deployed in the city area.
The day has been declared a public holiday.
A total of 474,931 voters – 239,662 male and 235,269 female – will exercise their franchise to elect their candidates.
As many as 156 councillor candidates will fight for the 27 posts while 38 women will contest for nine more seats reserved for women. All kinds of campaigns ended early yesterday.
Shakhawat had been in doubt over security measures during the last two weeks’ of campaign, but yesterday he said it was fine.
“But morning will show the day. It all depends on the government and the administration,” he said. “Not only me, everyone is expected to take part in the voting. The BNP will win if people can cast their votes.
Shakhawat said that he had asked all his polling agents not to leave the centres even if any untoward situation took place. He also assured that he would not boycott the election under any circumstances.
“I will accept the result if the election is held peacefully.”
Shakhawat spent the day yesterday at the BNP office with the party supporters.
On the other hand, immediate past mayor Ivy spent the day in her residence in the city’s Deobhog area chalking out her voting day strategies.
She met a small of number of his supporters and approved the polling agents’ list. When approached, Ivy told reporters that she would talk to the media on the voting day.
Meanwhile, Secretary of the EC Secretariat Mohammad Abdullah yesterday hoped that the NCC election would be held in a festive mood despite having some security threats.
“The authorities concerned have been asked to take strict action promptly in case of any irregularities. We have been informed that law and order is normal in the area,” he told reporters at his office.
“We will not spare anyone responsible for violence and negligence,” Abdullah said.