AL men fight it out among themselves | Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 11, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:44 AM, March 11, 2019

AL men fight it out among themselves

Sporadic incidents of ballot-stuffing, clashes mark low-turnout UZ polls; results from 57 available; AL takes 42

Boycotts by the BNP and other political parties have dampened the spirit of the first phase of elections to 78 upazilas, making the results irrelevant.

As expected, ruling Awami League candidates were leading in yesterday's polls that saw poor presence of voters.

According to the latest information from 57 out of 78 upazilas as of 12:30am today, the AL candidates won 42 chairman posts while their rebels secured 12.

Two BNP men who participated in the polls defying the party decision won the race for chairman posts and an independent candidate secured another.

Results of eight upazilas in Kurigram were withheld as officials did not get information from different upazilas, said Returning Officer Hafizur Rahman. “The results will be announced tomorrow [today] once we get full information.”

Yesterday's election was marked by sporadic incidents of ballot stuffing and clashes between the supporters of ruling party candidates.

The AL candidates in many places faced hurdles from their party men.

Even in such a situation, a number of voters could not cast their ballots and they alleged that their votes had already been cast.

Election Commission Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed claimed that yesterday's election ended peacefully.

At a press briefing in Nirbachan Bhaban, the EC Secretary said voting was suspended at 28 polling centres and voting would be held there later.

“So far, we came to know that the presence of voters was satisfactory. We are yet to know the voter turnout.

“Voters' presence would be high if the elections were competitive. Many political parties did not participate in this election.”

He said two presiding officers and an assistant presiding officer in Sirajganj and Lalmonirhat were arrested on allegation of irregularities. Besides, more than 10 people were tried by mobile courts for various irregularities, Helal added.

Our correspondents from different districts visited 70 polling centres in 12 upazilas all daylong and found a thin presence of voters after the voting began at 8:00am.

In Sirajganj, voting at three upazilas witnessed irregularities, ballot box stuffing and casting of fake votes. Voting at three polling stations of Sadar and Shahazadpur upazilas were suspended due to irregularities.

Law enforcers detained a presiding officer, two assistant presiding officers and two other people from different polling stations of Sirajganj Sadar upazila for assisting in casting fake votes.

An executive magistrate fined four people, including a union parishad member, for attempting to cast fake votes in Kazipur upazila.

In Joypurhat, a mobile court jailed three people for seven to 10 days and fined two of them each Tk 20,000 for casting fake votes in Kalai upazila. Elections were also held in Khetlal and Akkelpur upazilas.

In Kurigram, voting at 13 polling centres in Sadar, Nageswari, Ulipur, Chilmari and Roumari upazilas was suspended because of snatching of ballot papers and stuffing of ballot boxes.

In Rajshahi, polling in eight upazilas experienced some scattered incidents of irregularities and violence.

Two assistant presiding officers and a polling officer were detained for their failure to resist some outsiders, who captured the Al Jamiatus Salafia Alim Madrasa centre in Godagari upazila around 1:00pm and stuffed ballot boxes. Voting was suspended there.

Besides, four people were injured in a clash between the supporters of the AL candidate and party rebel candidate in Tanore upazila.

In Sunamganj, our Sylhet correspondent visited three upazilas out of 10 and witnessed a thin presence of voters. Voting at seven polling centres in the three upazilas was suspended over clash, allegations of ballot snatching and vote rigging.

In Natore, voting was marked by irregularities and casting of fake votes.

Talking to our district correspondent at Beelkatho Government Primary School centre under Gurudashpur upazila around 1:00pm, Shahidul Islam, 30, alleged that he failed to cast vote as his vote was cast earlier.

This correspondent also noticed that some 20 to 25 people were stuffing ballot boxes at Fazilatunnesa Mujib Degree College centre under Baraigram upazila around 4:10pm.

A mobile court jailed a polling agent of AL candidate for six months and fined him Tk 2,000 for casting fake votes at Gurudashpur upazila.

In Jamalpur, elections in three upazilas -- Islampur, Bakshiganj and Dewanganj -- were held in a peaceful atmosphere. 

In other upazilas of Jamalpur -- Madarganj, Melandah and Sarishabari -- all the chairmen and vice-chairmen candidates were elected uncontested. In Sadar upazila, the chairman was elected uncontested and voters only cast their ballots for the vice-chairman post.

 

Our correspondents in Sirajganj, Joypurhat, Thakurgaon, Kurigram, Rajshahi and Jamalpur also contributed to this report. 

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