Awami League nominated mayor candidate Md Jahangir Alam was declared elected in Gazipur City Corporation (GCC) elections today defeating his rival BNP contender Hasan Uddin Sarker by a big margin.
As per results of 416 centres out of 425 polling stations in 57 wards across the city corporation area, Jahangir Alam bagged a total of 4,000,10 votes while BNP candidate Hasan Uddin Sarker got 1,97,611 votes, said Returning Officer Raquib Uddin Mondal.
Voting was suspended in nine centres as miscreants snatched ballot papers and cast votes forcefully and creating chaos, Raquib Uddin Mondal said earlier.
18,038 fake votes cancelled: RO
Meanwhile, Gazipur Returning Officer Raquib Uddin Mondal this noon said the Gazipur City Corporation elections were held in a very fair and congenial atmosphere.
He came up with the observation at a post-election briefing held at his Gazipur office.
The turnout rate of voters in Gazipur City Corporation (GCC) elections 2018 was 57.02 percent, Mondal said.
A total of 6,30,000 voters exercised their franchise in the election that saw Awami League nominated candidate Md Jahangir Alam coming out victorious. Another 18,038 fake votes cancelled, the RO said.
Newly elected Gazipur city Mayor Jahangir Alam was present during the briefing. The returning officer handed over the election’s result sheet to Jahangir at the programme.
This was an election of prestige for both the Awami League and the BNP as it was held just six months before the parliamentary polls.
In the maiden election to the GCC in 2013, which was lauded for its free and fair manner, AL candidate Ajmat Ullah Khan lost by more than 1,00,000 votes to BNP's MA Mannan.
That defeat had stunned the AL as Gazipur has always been an AL bastion. The AL fared well there in all the national polls since 1991, when the first democratic election was held in the country after the fall of autocrat Ershad.
In the 2008 national election, the AL won all the five seats in the district by big margins. In the 1996 elections, the district was divided into four constituencies and the party won in all of those.
The BNP had managed to win two seats in 1991 and one in 2001, while the AL won two and three seats in the two elections respectively. In 2014, the AL won all the constituencies as the BNP boycotted the polls.
No major incident of violence took place during yesterday's voting, but it lacked any sort of festivity because of an atmosphere of intimidation created by the AL men soon after polling began at 8:00am.
Allegations of ballot stuffing and driving out or barring BNP polling agents were rampant at different polling centres. No polling agents of the BNP mayoral aspirant were seen at over dozens polling stations.
Law enforcers were present in large numbers, but they were mostly silent observers, as AL men broke election rules.
Voters' turnout was between 55 and 60 percent, down from 63.69 percent in the 2013 election there, said the returning officer.
The Election Commission claimed the polls were free, fair and credible.
The AL also termed the election free and fair, but the BNP claimed there were “massive irregularities,” including casting of false votes.
Around two hours before voting ended, BNP mayoral aspirant Hasan Uddin Sarker called for stopping the voting, bringing allegations of massive irregularities, including casting of false votes in 100 polling stations.
"False votes were cast after driving out my polling agents from over a hundred centres. They were manhandled by the ruling party men. As a result, I am urging the Election Commission to stop the voting," he said.
He met Returning Officer Raquib Uddin Mondal at his office and placed the demand.
Earlier, after casting his vote in the morning, Hasan told a press briefing at BNP's Gazipur district office that his agents were driven out from various centres.
He criticised law enforcement agencies for their “partisan role”.
He also alleged that BNP leaders, activists and supporters were harassed in many ways and many of them were detained deliberately in the run up to the election.
"VOTING FREE AND FAIR"
Jahangir Alam cast his vote at Kanaiya Government Primary School polling centre.
He later told reporters that voting was being held in a free and fair manner.
"People are coming to cast their votes on their own. I seek cooperation of all so that people of Gazipur can cast their votes spontaneously and freely. We welcome the voters of all parties," he said.