Councillor aspirants keep BNP alive
The pro-BNP councillor candidates did well in the municipal elections though their party-nominated mayor aspirants suffered a debacle, which has largely been blamed on rampant electoral irregularities.
The Daily Star randomly picked 102 municipalities and found that 369 of the councillors were associated with the BNP while 728 were from the rival Awami League.
BNP mayoral candidates won in only 12 of these municipalities. The AL candidates on the other hand bagged 77 mayor posts.
An analysis of the results in the municipalities shows that the BNP men did well in councillor races in its well-known strongholds like Chapainawabganj, Rajshahi, Bogra, Dinajpur, Habiganj and Satkhira. The party's mayor aspirants too did relatively good in these places.
Elections in the municipalities of these districts were largely free and fair.
In Dinajpur, for example, pro-BNP candidates won both the mayor and all 12 councillor posts.
In Jhaldhaka of Nilphamari, the BNP favourite won the mayoral race and eight of the councillors were elected from the BNP camp.
But the same didn't happen in other BNP strongholds like Patuakhali, Barguna, Barisal, Bhola, Laxmipur, Noakhali, Comilla and Chittagong districts.
Take Banshkhali municipality of Chittagong for an example. AL men swept the mayoral and all 12 councillor posts there.
Large-scale irregularities were reported in these areas.
A relatively fair election even in the AL strongholds has seen a good number of BNP men winning the councillor posts.
For example, though the AL-backed hopeful won the mayoral race in Phulbaria municipality of Mymensingh, BNP men won six councillor posts, two more than what the pro-AL aspirants did.
TOTAL VOTES OBTAINED
A total of 234 municipalities on Wednesday went to polls, held on party lines for the first time. AL candidates were elected uncontested in seven of them and elections were cancelled in 20 due to irregularities and violence.
In the rest 207 municipalities, the BNP-backed mayor aspirants won in only 19 and finished second in 139, bagging a total of 11.58 lakh votes.
On the other hand, the ruling AL candidates came out victorious in 168 municipalities and finished second in 31. It obtained a total of 25.86 lakh votes.
The turnout was around 74 percent, according to the Election Commission Secretariat.
Independent candidates won in 26 municipalities, it said.
The results show an unusual gap between the numbers of votes secured by the BNP mayor candidates and their rivals from the AL camp in the areas considered BNP strongholds.
In Mirsharai municipality of Chittagong, the BNP favourite got only 475 votes while the AL candidate got 7,297 votes.
In Rangunia of the district, the BNP candidate got 2,158 votes against 12,987 votes bagged by his rival backed by the AL.
While the AL-favoured mayor contender got 28,162 votes, the BNP candidate got only 2,120 votes.
In Sandwip, only 464 votes were cast for the BNP's “paddy sheave” symbol while the candidate with AL's “boat” symbol got 20,690 votes.
Such an unusual phenomenon in these areas happened allegedly because of irregularities like ballot box-stuffing by the AL men.
Similar voting trends were seen in Barisal district as well.
In Banaripara municipality, the BNP candidate got only 443 votes while the AL nominee bagged 5,355 votes.
In Muladi, the BNP contender received only 596 votes but AL favourite secured 9,358 votes.
In Gauranadi, 776 was the number of votes the BNP candidate got while the AL-backed contender bagged 18,959 votes.
In Nalchhity municipality of Jhalakathi, BNP got 635 votes while AL got 13,042 votes.
In Kazipur municipality of Sirajganj, BNP candidate got only 173 votes while his opponent from the AL camp obtained 7, 825 votes.
JP'S DISASTROUS RESULT
The Jatiya Party won in only one out of 74 municipalities where the main opposition in parliament had fielded candidates.
The JP candidate won the mayoral race in Nageshwari of Kurigram.
More than three dozen Jamaat leaders contested the mayoral polls as independent candidates and they won in two municipalities -- Birganj of Dinajpur and Chapainawabganj.
None of the 129 mayor candidates fielded by other 17 political parties won in any municipality.