12:00 AM, December 31, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:35 AM, December 31, 2018

AL men rule Ctg polling centres

Polling agents of BNP-led alliance candidates were barred from entering the voting centres and BNP supporters were driven out from the area in all 16 constituencies in Chattogram during yesterday's election. 

At 9:30am, The Daily Star correspondent visited Zobaida Islamia Mahila Madrasa centre in Chattogram-4 (Sitakunda upazila), and found AL men only allowing their supporters in the centre, while no polling agents of BNP was spotted.

Md Nuruschhafa, presiding officer of the centre said that 400 votes out of a total 2,972 were cast in the first one and a half hours.

Several crude bombs were exploded in front of the centre around 10:00am, creating panic among voters of the area.

Our correspondent tried to enter the same polling centre again at 10:30am but was barred by police officials.

At 10:45am, while visiting Sitakunda Girls' High School polling centre, this correspondent found a ruling party polling agent with the top ballot paper of the book, marked with boat symbol.

The presiding officer of the centre, Saurav Pal Mithun, claimed 700 votes out of a total 3,614 were cast till 11:00am. However, after collecting information from each booth, this correspondent found 367 were cast.

Meanwhile, groups of youth, equipped with sticks were seen at this centre and also at Sitakunda Datta Para Government Primary School centre.

In another incident, Ishaque Quader Chowdhury, brother of BNP candidate Aslam Chowdhury, sustained injuries in a crude bomb blast in Faujdarhat Station Road area at 9:00am yesterday.

Shilbrata Barua, assistant sub-inspector of Chattogram Medical College Hospital (CMCH) Police Outpost, said Ishaque received treatment at the hospital after injuries in one of his legs.

Meanwhile, a man identified as Ahmed Kabir, was shot dead in front of Boroitola Government Primary School centre in Chattogram-16 (Banskhali upazila) early yesterday.

Mahmudul Hasan Chowdhury, a Jatiya Party candidate, claimed Kabir was his supporter and said he [Kabir] resisted some police officials, who were stuffing ballots at the centre the night before the polls.

Meanwhile, OC Kamal Hossain of Banskhali Police Station claimed Kabir was killed in a clash with police while trying to take over the polling station the night before. Five others were also injured in the incident, the OC claimed.

After visiting 10 polling centers in the constituency, The Daily Star found polling agents of BNP and Jatiya Party in only two centres: Ahmadia Dalampir Senior Madrasa and Purba Boilgaon Government Primary School in Chattogram 16.

Around 11:00am, local ruling party men drove out all BNP polling agents from the Chandpur Government Primary School polling centre, Saidur Rahman, an eyewitness claimed.

Tushar Kanti Bharati, the presiding officer of the centre, said he did not know about the incident. Asked about voter turnout, he said 700 ballots out of total 3,202 were cast till 9:30am.

In another incident, madrasa student Md Abu Sadek, 18, was killed in a clash between BNP and AL men over taking control of Pachim Maliyara Govt Primary School polling centre at Chattogram-12 (Patiya upazila).

The presiding officer Abdul Jalil said attackers vandalised a ballot box and looted 300 ballots, while voting remained suspended for three and half hours from 10:30am.

Our correspondent visited South Pahartali Government Primary School, Fatehabad City Corporation Degree College, Fatehabad City Corporation School and College, Hathazari Parboti Model College and Hathazari College polling centres in Chattogram-5 constituency (Hathazari upazila) and found only two polling agents of BNP in two centres.

In Chattogram-6 (Raozan upazila), this paper did not find any BNP polling agents at Fatehnagar Noyajispur Odudiya High School, 34 No South Dolinagar Govt Primary School, Gahira High School, Gahira College and Pashchim Gahira Govt Primary School polling centres.

After visiting Moddho Doulatpur Govt Primary School, Fatikchari College, Paindong High School, Paindong Govt Primary School, Fatikcharui Pilot Girls High School, Ekkhuliya Govt Primary School, Rangamatiya High School, Lelang Govt Primary School and Maijbandar Ahmadia High School polling centres in Chattogram-2 constituency (Fatikchhari upazila), polling agent of BNP candidates were found only at Paindong High School polling centre.

Nurul Alam, the lone BNP polling agent in Paindong High School polling centre, told The Daily Star, he has been threatened by ruling party men and they also tried to beat him up. However, he could stay due to the intervention of the presiding officer.

Many voters of the constituency complained that they were sent back by polling officials who claimed they were out of ballot papers.

Meanwhile, voting at Shahid Nagar City Corporation Girls' High School polling centre in Chattogram 10 (Double-mooring) was suspended after a video went viral on social media showing a half-full ballot box before the polls began.

Contacted at 2:45pm, the presiding officer Md Ashraful Alam denied any irregularity in the polling station, but later at 5:00pm confirmed that voting was suspended over allegations of stuffing ballot box.

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