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Dhaka Tribune

Curtain falls on 6th phase of upazila polls

Update : 19 May 2014, 06:44 PM

Voting in 13 upazilas across the country in the sixth phase of upazila polls ended at 4pm yesterday. Polling, which began at 8am, was mostly peaceful except for a boycott by a BNP candidate and a number of sporadic incidents.


Brahmanbaria BNP candidate boycotts polls

Advocate Shariful Islam Liton, the BNP-backed chairman candidate in Bijoynagar of Brahmanbaria, announced he would boycott elections alleging vote fraud, occupation of polling centres and ejection of agents from polling centres. At 1:30pm, he made the announcement before reporters at Paharpur Government Primacy School centre. 

Apart from electoral fraud, Liton said nearly 20-30 of his agents were beat up at most of the 58 centres in the upazila. He alleged he had tried to submit a written complaint to the deputy commissioner but the latter did not accept it.  

Low voter turnout prevailed at the polling centres throughout the time since 8am but no violence was reported.


Voting postponed in 2 Comilla centres, ballot snatched

In Adarsha Sadar upazila of Comilla, the Election Commission postponed voting at two centres, Afzol Khan Technical Commerce College and Chayabitan Government Primary School. 

District Polling Officer Md Rashedul Islam said miscreants snatched ballot papers of the two centres after voting had begun and the commission suspended polling. Ballot papers were also snatched from Ratnabati Ali Amena High School centre around 11am.   

There were allegations that pro-government men occupied some centres, including Majhigacha Aktaruzzaman High School, Bamil School and College and Bhubanghar Abul Hossain Abbasi High School, and forced opposition men out. 

600 ballot papers were snatched from Subarnapur High School centre.

Fazlul Haque Fazlu, chairman candidate of the 19-party alliance, said government supporters forcefully made his agents leave at least 10 centres.   


Sirajganj BNP candidate calls for re-polling

Alleging vote fraud and scuffle, BNP-backed candidate Gazi Abdul Aziz Sarker yesterday demanded re-polling in Kamarkhand upazila of Sirajganj.  

Addressing a press briefing at Kamarkhand BNP office at 5pm after the end of voting, Sarker said fake votes were cast with direct assistance from Sirajganj Sadar lawmaker Dr Habibe Millat Munna since morning to ensure BNP’s defeat.

A written complaint would be submitted to the Election Commission today, he said. 

Casting of fake votes turned into a frenzy at the centres in the afternoon. Upazila Returning Officer Israt Jahan seized seven ballots from Jamtail Model Government Primary School (north) and Jamtail Model Government Primary School (south) when allegation of fake votes was raised. Polling was suspended at the two centres but resumed in 20 minutes.

Jamtail Model Government Primary School (south) centre presiding officer Moazzem Hossain said fake votes were cast because of negligence of duty by Najmul Mostafa Tutul, sub-inspector of Shahjadpur, who was in charge of the station’s security. We were threatened as we tried to resist, he said. 

Meanwhile, Upazila Awami League General Secretary Anwar Hossain denied allegations of vote fraud and occupation of polling centres against him and said there was no anomaly in the two centres.

District Returning Officer Shafiqul Islam said magistrates, police, RAB and BGB personnel discharged their duties and immediate action was taken against fake vote casting at the two centres.


Peaceful voting in Rangpur

Voting was peaceful in four upazilas of Rangpur amid tight security, said official and local sources.

Police arrested rebel Sadar upazila BNP chairman candidate Masud Rana and his associate Shamsul Alam on Sunday night for violating electoral code of conduct.

According to district election office sources, a total of 656,924 voters, including 324,114 male and 332,810 female, cast votes at 287 polling centres under 29 unions of the four upazilas.

A total of 67 candidates, including 25 chairman candidates, 24 vice-chairman candidates, and 18 women vice-chairman candidates, contested the polls.

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