Ahsan Habib Kamal, Barisal
While BNP-backed mayoral candidate in Barisal City Corporation (BCC) Ahsan Habib Kamal yesterday alleged that the voting there had not been held in a free and neutral manner, his agents denied it.
Talking to reporters at a poll centre around 1:30pm, Kamal claimed that his agents had been forced out of some centres where ruling party-backed candidate Shawkat Hossain Hiron's men were rigging votes.
Rebel Awami League candidate Mahmudul Haque Khan Mamun also alleged that his agents had been driven away by Hiron's men from some poll centres.
Hiron's close associate Baloram Poddar denied the allegations. He rather alleged that some presiding and assistant presiding officers had been favouring Kamal.
The Daily Star correspondents visited at least 50 BCC poll centres in 20 wards and talked to more than 150 agents of both Kamal and Hiron. They said voting was peaceful in their centres.
"So far the election was free and fair. We did not face any problem," said Nobin Hossain Sajal, a polling agent of Kamal at Nuria High School centre in ward-12. More than 60 of Kamal's other agents also said the same.
Meanwhile, some untoward incidents took place in three to four polling centres.
In Rupatoli Government High School centre, AL supporters assaulted former BNP lawmaker of Barisal-4 constituency Abul Hossain, who is an outsider in BCC areas, and a few of his men in front of Hiron and Kamal around 1:40pm. The incident halted the voting there for more than an hour.
Voting also remained suspended for more than an hour in Diapara Government Primary School centre due to vandalism at a booth by some AL men.
Witnesses said the AL activists snatched some ballot papers from the presiding officer, stamped those and put them into ballot boxes.
Law enforcers took control over the situation and detained Shahin Shikder, top leader of city Jubo League, in connection with the incident.
Voting resumed there at 5:00pm.
Earlier, around 10:30am, Sramik League leader Aftab Hossain threatened journalists of dire consequences if any photograph of the beating of a local BNP leader at Chahotpur Primary School was published.
In another incident, activists of Chhatra League, pro-AL student body, assaulted two wokers of Jubo Dal, pro-BNP youth organisation, at Kaunia Girls High School centre.
Hiron cast his vote at Nuria High School centre around 8:30am while Kamal at Barisal Polytechnic Institute centre around 9:10am. Both were looking confident about winning the poll.