The voters of newly formed Rangpur City Corporation (RCC) will today exercise their right to franchise to choose a mayor and 44 councillors in its maiden election today.
"Polls will be conducted at 1,070 booths of 178 polling centres in 33 wards under the city. We have already provided training to 178 presiding officers, 1,070 assistant presiding officers and 2,140 polling officers for the purpose. Ballot papers, boxes and other materials will be sent to the centres by today (Wednesday) evening," said Rangpur Zonal Election Officer Md Monirul Islam, also returning officer of the RCC polls.
There 3,57,742 voters under RCC, including 1,79,128 male and 1,78,614 female, sources at the zonal election office said, adding that the vote casting will continue from 8:00am to 4:00am.
Saleh Mohammad Tanvir, superintend of police of Rangpur, said 2,750 police personnel, 550 Ansar, 300 Rapid Action Battalion and 100 Border Guard Bangladesh members will perform their duty to ensure peaceful polls in the 203 square kilometre area. Besides, there will be striking forces for immediate action in case of urgency."
"Thirty-three executive magistrates, each for one ward, six judicial magistrates and fifteen mobile courts will also work to maintain peace during the RCC polls.
The zonal election office has also identified 104 polling centres as vulnerable and special security measures have been taken there," said the returning officer.
The Election Commission will use electronic voting machines in four polling centres under ward No 11 in the RCC polls, he added.
Earlier on November 5, the Commission announced their schedule for the Rangpur City Corporation (RCC) polls to be held on December 20.
November 18 was the last date of filing nomination papers while that of withdrawing candidature was November 29.
After withdrawal of former lawmaker and Jatiya Party (JP) presidium member Moshiur Rahman Ranga's candidature for the RCC mayoral post, 12 candidates are in the final race for it, said sources of Zonal Election Office of Rangpur.
The candidates are AKM Abdur Rauf Manik, former organising secretary of JP central committee and former Rangpur municipality mayor, Mostafizar Rahman Mostafa, former chairman of Rangpur Sadar upazila parishad and former member secretary of JP Rangpur district unit, Shorfuddin Ahmed Jhantu, former lawmaker and present member of the advisory committee of Rangpur district unit of Awami League (AL), Firoz Kabir Chowdhury Gunjan, former general secretary of AL Rangpur Sadar upazila unit, Shafiar Rafman Shafi, president of AL Rangpur city unit, Mehedy Hasan, Ali Haydar Dulu, Kaiser Zaman Babla, former president of Rangpur municipality unit of BNP, Majirul Islam Liton, general secretary of Workers Party Rangpur district unit, Faruk Aziz Shahin of Nagorik Oikyo, ATM Golam Mostafa of Islami Shashontantra Andolan and Abdul Quddus of Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal.
Shorfuddin Ahmed Jhauntu, Mostafizar Rahman Mostafa and AKM Abdur Rauf Manik appear as the most potential contestants, said observers.
As many as 327 candidates are contesting for 33 councillor posts in the polls while 91 candidates will contest for 11 women's reserved seats of councillors.
The candidates held rallies and conducted door to door campaign during the 20-day campaign ending Tuesday.
The ruling Awami League has refrained from supporting any mayoral aspirant in the local government election.
The main opposition BNP and their 18-party alliance partner Jamaat-e-Islami did not express any interest to contest in the polls.
The government on June 28 this year upgraded former Rangpur municipality, announcing it as the 10th city corporation of the country.
The electioneering came to an end on Tuesday midnight when the 'outsiders' had to leave Rangpur city and movement of motorcycles was restricted.
Authorities also suspended movement of motor vehicles in the city corporation area from last night.
However, emergency transports and the vehicles plying Rangpur-Dhaka, Rangpur-Dinajpur and Rangpur-Kurigram highways have been kept outside the ban.