117 UZs go to polls today

EC Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed
Election Commission Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed. File photo

As many as 117 upazilas go to polls today in the third phase of the election, amid very little voter turnout.

Many of the candidates have been elected unopposed.

The local government body election, boycotted by the BNP and several other parties, began on March 10, almost two months after the December 30 national election.

Election to 480 upazila parishads will be held in five phases this year.

Over 1.18 crore people are expected to cast their vote at 9,298 centres in the third phase.

The fourth phase would be held in 122 upazilas on March 31.

The Election Commission is yet to officially announce the schedule for the fifth phase. Officials say they are planning to hold the final phase on June 18, after the HSC exams and Eid-ul-Fitr.

Election to 78 upazilas were held in the first phase on March 10 and 116 upazilas in the second phase on March 18.

For the first time, political parties are nominating aspirants for upazila parishads.

The BNP, Left Democratic Alliance, a combine of eight left-leaning parties, Islami Andolan Bangladesh, Bangladesh Khelafat Andolan and Bangladesh Muslim League have boycotted the polls.

At a press briefing at his office yesterday, EC Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed said preparations for a free and fair election had been taken.

Election would not be held in Lohagara of Chattogram and Kutubdia of Cox's Bazar today as the High Court stayed the polls there.

Besides, no election will take place in Gournadi and Agailjhara of Barishal, Shibchar of Madaripur, Bhedarganj of Shariatpur, Palash of Gazipur and Anwara of Chattogram as candidates have been elected unopposed. 

EC sources said in the third phase, 340 candidates are vying for the post of chairmen, 584 for vice-chairmen and 399 for female vice-chairmen.

During the first two phases, voters showed little interest in polls. The EC data shows turnout was less than 30 percent during the second phase.

Voter turnout in the 2009 upazila polls was 70.57 percent. It dropped to 61.23 percent in 2014. 


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