116 upazilas go to polls today | Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 18, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:19 AM, March 18, 2019

116 upazilas go to polls today

In the second phase, 116 upazilas go to polls today amid a growing number of candidates being elected unopposed.

The local body elections, boycotted by the BNP and several other parties, kicked off on March 10 about two months after the December 30 general polls.

This year, elections in 480 upazilas will be held in five phases.

Over 1.79 crore people are expected to cast votes at 7,034 centres in the second phase.

The third-phase polls will be held on March 24 in 127 upazilas and the fourth in 122 upazilas on March 31.

The Election Commission is yet to announce the schedule for the fifth-phase polls.

For the first time in Bangladesh, political parties are nominating aspirants for upazila council, including chairman, vice-chairman and female vice-chairman.

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 in the Nirbachon Bhaban yesterday, Election Commission Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed said all preparations were completed for holding the second-phase polls in a free and fair manner.

He warned law enforcers and election officials against any kind of negligence of duty.

The secretary added that the commission decided to deploy army personnel in three hill districts.

The EC primarily decided to hold elections in 129 upazilas in the second phase, but it later rescheduled the election date of Gopalganj's five upazilas for March 24. Election will not take place at Dinajpur Sadar upazila as one of the candidates died. Election in Gaibandha's Gobindaganj will not be held today as the court stayed polls there.

Besides, no elections will take place in six upazilas -- Mirsarai and Raozan of Chattogram, Hatia of Noakhali, Faridpur, Naogaon and Pabna sadar upazilas -- as all three candidates of the upazilas -- chairman, vice-chairman and female vice-chairman -- were elected unopposed.   

Forty-eight candidates for chairman, vice-chairman and female vice-chairman posts have been elected uncontested in the second phase. Of them, 23 are chairman candidates, 13 vice-chairman candidates and 12 female vice-chairman contestants.

In the first phase, 28 chairmen, vice-chairmen and female vice-chairmen had been elected unopposed.

EC sources said in the second phase, 377 candidates are vying for chairman posts, 548 for vice-chairman posts and 400 for female vice-chairman posts.

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