• Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Polls in 97 Upazilas

Turnout 62pc

BNP-backed candidates win more vice-chairman posts than AL's

Staff Correspondent

The BNP-backed candidates have also won more vice-chairman posts than those backed by the ruling Awami League in the first phase of the upazila parishad election that saw an impressive turnout of 62.44 percent.
In Wednesday's polls, the BNP-blessed candidates won 72 of 192 vice-chairman posts, including those reserved for women. The AL-backed favourites secured 63 vice-chairman posts, according to results announced by returning officers yesterday.
Candidates supported by the Jamaat-e-Islami, a key component in the BNP-led alliance, won 30 vice-chairman posts, while supporters of the Jatiya Party, the main opposition in parliament, bagged eight.  
Of the 97 chairman posts, the BNP-supported candidates won 41, the AL 34, Jamaat men 12, and the Jatiya Party one.
Supporters of regional parties Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity and United People's Democratic Front, rebels and independent candidates won nine chairman posts.
Each of the 97 upazila parishads has two vice-chairman posts, including one reserved for women in each upazila. Election results for two vice-chairman posts in Sonatola upazila of Bogra remained suspended, as re-polling will take place in five centres in the upazila.
Of the 96 vice-chairman posts (general), BNP-supported candidates won 34, AL favourites 27, Jamaat men 21, Jatiya Party supporters four, independent candidates five and others five.


Women candidates backed by the BNP secured 38 vice-chairman posts reserved for women, AL favourites 36, Jamaat supporters nine, Jatiya Party men four and others nine.
BNP favourites won all three posts of chairman and vice-chairman in 11 upazilas, while AL supporters emerged victorious in 10 and Jamaat men in three upazilas. BNP and Jamaat men together won all three posts in another 12 upazilas.   
Meanwhile, the Election Commission yesterday announced the schedule for the fifth phase of upazila polls to be held in 74 upazila parishads on March 31.
Elections in 117 upazilas will be held in the second phase on February 27, 83 upazilas in the third phase on March 15, and 92 upazilas in the fourth phase on March 23.
The first phase of upazila polls was held one and a half months after the January 5 parliamentary election boycotted by the BNP-led alliance.
However, all parties unofficially took part in yesterday's election.
Though non-partisan in nature, the upazila elections have become a prestige issue for both the parties.
The election results will encourage BNP's grassroots leaders and supporters to perform well in the remaining phases of the election to around 400 upazila parishads, according to BNP sources.
In the municipality election in January 2011, BNP-backed candidates edged past their rivals from the AL. BNP favourites won 92 of 236 mayoral posts while AL-blessed contestants bagged 88.
BNP-blessed candidates defeated their rivals supported by the AL in five city corporation elections held in the middle of last year.
AL leaders are also happy with the results of Wednesday's election. In their view, party-backed candidates did well in the battle of ballots.  
VOTER TURNOUT
More than one crore of the 1.62 crore voters exercised their franchise in Wednesday's election to 97 upazila parishads, according to an estimate by officials at the Election Commission Secretariat.
They made the calculation on the basis of votes cast for chairman posts. A voter was entitled to cast three votes for the same number of posts -- one of chairman and two of vice-chairmen.
The highest number of ballots was cast in Nachol Upazila of Chapainawabganj with a turnout of 81.62 percent. It was followed by Atoary upazila in Panchagarh and Mohonpur upazila in Rajshahi. The two upazilas saw a voter turnout of 81.15 percent and 80.42 percent.
Voters in Jajira upazila appeared less interested in electing their local representatives. Voter turnout in the upazila was only 37.20 percent, the lowest among the 97 upazilas.
In the last election to upazila parishads on January 22, 2009, voter turnout was 68.32 percent. The polls were held three weeks after the December 29 national election that saw a record voter turnout of 87 percent.
But the picture was different in the January 5 polls. Turnout in the parliamentary election was low with around 40 percent voters casting ballots in 147 constituencies.
FIFTH PHASE
Elections to 74 upazila parishads in 35 districts will be held on March 31 in the fifth phase, Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad announced yesterday.
The last date for filing nomination papers is March 2, he said at a press briefing at the media centre of EC Secretariat in the capital.
The papers will be scrutinised on March 5, and the last date for withdrawing nomination is March 12, he said.
Returning officers will allocate the candidates electoral symbols on March 13, and the contestants will be allowed to start electioneering the same day, he said.
The CEC also said election to Dhamrai upazila in Dhaka will be held on March 23 along with other 92 upazilas in the fourth phase of the polls.
The deadline for filing nomination papers in Dhamrai is February 25. The papers will be scrutinised on February 26, while the last date for withdrawing nomination is March 6.
The commission has completed preparations for holding elections in most of the upazila parishads, said the CEC.
“The tenure of some upazila councils will expire between August and September. Moreover, some upazilas have problems relating to demarcation of area. We will hold elections to those upazila parishads later,” he said.

Published: 12:01 am Friday, February 21, 2014

Last modified: 9:42 pm Friday, February 21, 2014

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