Municipality election: voting ends amid violence, boycott | The Daily Star
10:33 AM, January 16, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:21 PM, January 16, 2021

Municipality election: voting ends amid violence, boycott

The second phase elections to 60 municipalities ended amid reports of violence, irregularities and boycott of at least two candidates.

Voting started at 8:00 am and continued till 4:00 pm.

In Rajshahi, BNP candidate of Bhabaniganj municipality Abdur Razzak boycotted the election, alleging that supporters of ruling party candidate Abdul Malek occupied Shahid Sekandar Memorial High School centre in the morning. He was not allowed to cast his vote either, he claimed.

In Mongla Port municipality, BNP nominated mayoral candidate Zulfiqar Ali also boycotted the election, bringing allegation of vote rigging and occupying of centre by ruling party men. He declared the decision at a press conference at his residence around 10:30am.

In Savar municipality, a journalist was verbally abused allegedly by Awami league candidate Abdul Gani's son Kamrul Hasan Shahin at Tangail Cadet Academy in Bank Colony when he was covering the election.

Shahin also snatched the mobile phone of Sagar Farazi of Banglanews24.com when he was recording video of voters' comments at the centre at 8:30am, reports our savar correspondent.

Later, Dipak Saha, officer-in-charge of Dhamrai Police Station, rushed to the spot, settled the issue and returned Sagar's mobile phone.

Talking to The Daily Star, Dhaka Zila Senior Election Officer Monir Hossain, also returning officer of Savar municipality polls, termed the incident as unexpected.

"We will take action if we receive any written complaint over the issue," he said.

Meanwhile, a group of journalists alleged that assistant presiding officer Mahfuzur Rahman misbehaved with them at Swarnokoli School centre around 12:10 pm.

The journalists said they found the EVM machine outside the booth when they entered the centre to cover the election. When they drew attention to it, the assistant presiding officer hurled abusive words at them and also threatened them with dire consequences.

As the journalists informed the matter to presiding officer Gautam Kumar Deb, he sent the EVM inside the booth.

In Jhenidah, miscreants vandalised the car of Awami League rebel candidate of Shailkupa municipality Tayebur Rahman in front of Jhaudia Government Primary School.

Tayebur Rahman alleged that supporters of AL-nominated candidate Kazi Ashraful Alam attacked when he went to the centre after receiving allegation of vote rigging by the ruling party backed candidate.

"I took shelter inside the centre," he said adding that law enforcement rushed to the scene and brought the situation under control.

Meanwhile, a supporter of Tayebur Rahman was attacked when he was returning after casting vote at Khulna Bazar Government School centre.

Injured Alauddin, who was admitted to the local upazila health complex, said at least 10 people led by councillor candidate Monnu Hossain attacked him at Bhultia.

Alauddin needed five stiches, said Dr Shahnewaz, a physician of the emergency department of Shailkupa Upazila Health Complex.

In Feni, four people including an Ansar member were injured in a crude bomb explosion in front of a polling centre in Dagonbhuiya.

The explosion took place in front of Ganipur Government Primary School centre around 10:00am, reports a correspondent.

In Pabna, voting at four municipalities -- Ishwardi, Santhia, Vangura and Faridpur -- began with stray incidents of violence this morning.

Awami League men allegedly attacked BNP nominated mayor candidate in Ishwardi municipality and Santhia municipality at the beginning of election, reports our Pabna correspondent.

BNP nominated candidate Rofikul Islam Nayan told journalists that AL men attacked him when he was visiting Ishwardi Madrasa centre this morning.

Rejecting the allegations, Awami League candidate Sheikh Md Nasir Uddin said locals just protested when BNP candidate Nayan and his followers were trying to enter a voting centre for women.

In Santhia municipality, BNP nominated candidate Sirajul Islam Mollah alleged that he came under attack by Awami League men at Santhia Pilot School centre.

Md Mahabubur Rahman, district election officer, said he received no complaints about such incidents.

There was no report of any violence at Vangura and Faridpur municipalities.

Meanwhile, the presence of voters was poor at many polling stations due to the dense fog in the morning.

In Tangail, BNP nominated mayor candidate of Dhanbari municipality SMA Sobhan and independent candidate Moniruzzaman alleged that supporters of AL aspirant Manjurul Islam Tapan drove out their agents at different centres including Dhanbari Government Degree College.

They also took fingerprints of some voters and forcibly cast votes for boat.

Besides, a BNP activist -- Sajal -- was injured in a chase and counter-chase between BNP and AL men in front of the degree college.

District Election Officer ASM Kamrul Islam told The Daily Star that he did not receive any complaint in this regard so far.

At Pirojpur municipality, voting started at 8:00 am using electronic voting machines (EVMs).

Voter turnout was low in the morning, reports our Pirojpur correspondent quoting election officials.

However, as the mayor and one councilor were elected unopposed in this municipality, the voting was going on for eight general councillors and three reserved (female) councillors.

Total 30 candidates were contesting for general councilor while eight for reserved councilor posts.

Voting in Khagrachhari municipality started in a festive atmosphere.

Voting was going on at 18 polling stations from 8:00 am without any report of unwanted incident.

Visiting several polling centres, our local correspondent saw voters were standing in long lines to cast their votes using EVM.

No untoward incident has been reported at any of the centres, said Prashanta Chakrabarti, executive magistrate.

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