The polls of the much-hyped Rangpur City Corporation ended peacefully on Thursday despite BNP's allegations that the ruling party had been out to manipulate the elections to get its own candidates elected.
The voting started in a festive mood at 8am and ended at 4pm.
The success or failure of the KM Nurul Huda-led Election Commission is riding on this election since the RpCC polls is its second major election and a crucial test for the commission ahead of the next general elections in 2018.
Security measures have been ramped up to ensure that voters face no hassle while casting their ballots at the polling centres, and return home safely, according to elections and law enforcement agency officials.
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Female voters wait to register votes in a polling centre in Rangpur city on Thursday, December 21, 2017 Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune
Rangpur City Corporation currently has 393,994 voters. There are 193 voting centres around the city with 1,122 polling booths.
Seven contenders are vying for the mayor post in the RpCC polls while 211 aspirants are contesting for the general councillor posts in 33 wards and 65 women candidates for 11 reserved seat councillor posts.
In the mayoral race, there is a triangular fight among Sarfuddin Ahmed of Awami League, Md Mostafizur Rahman of Jatiya Party and Kawsar Jahan Babla of BNP, locals said.
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From left, Sarfuddin Ahmed of Awami League, and Kawsar Jahan Babla of BNP and Md Mostafizur Rahman of Jatiya Party--the three front-line contenders of mayoral race at the Rangpur City Corporation polls, slated to be held Thursday, December 21, 2017 Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune
Incumbent mayor Sharfuddin Ahmed cast his vote at the Salema Girls’ High School in the city’s 24th ward at 10am.
“Voting has been fair,” he told reporters afterwards. “If voting continues in this way we will win,” he said.
BNP candidate Kawsar Zaman Babla cast his vote at 8:45am at the Dewantuli Government Primary School centre in the 29th ward.
“We have expressed our concern regarding the polls from the beginning,” he told reporters.
“We are still worried. If there is no fraud and the vote is fair, we will accept the decision of the people.”
Jatiya Party’s Mostafizur Rahman Mostafa cast his ballot at the Alamnagar College Road Government Primary School centre in the 22nd ward around 9:30am.
“I will accept the people’s verdict,” he said. “It has been a peaceful and fair vote. People are not worried.”
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Voters going to the polling centres to cast their votes in Rangpur City Corporation (RpCC) on Thursday December 21, 2017 Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune
Earlier on Wednesday, Chief Election Commissioner Nurul Huda expressed hope that the election will be held in a credible manner.
Alongside over 5,500 law enforcers, 11 judicial magistrates and 33 executive magistrates will be in the election area to check any possible breach of the election code of conduct and election violence.
Bomb disposal units and dog squads of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) are also patrolling the polling areas as a precaution against any untoward situation.
Earlier, Rangpur Deputy Commissioner Wahiduzzaman also informed that 24 police and Ansar personnel, including 14 armed personnel, would be deployed to each of the polling centres during the voting.
For every two polling centres, a patrol unit comprising members of police, Border Guard Bangladesh and RAB, will be deployed.