Ruling Awami League swept the first-phase Upazila Parishad elections held on Sunday in different districts of the country.
Voting was held in 78 upazilas under Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Sirajganj, Rajshahi, Sunamganj and Habiganj districts amid stray incidents of violence and irregularities.The unofficial results of 76 upazilas available until Sunday midnight show Awami League-nominated contestants won chairman post in 57 upzilas, including 15 uncontested. Independent candidates won in 19 upazilas.
Authorities suspended voting at 28 polling centres in Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Sirajganj, Rajshahi, Sunamganj and Habiganj districts over allegations of irregularities, violence and ballot box snatching, according to the Election Commission (EC).
Apart from 15 chairmen, six vice-chairmen and seven reserved vice-chairmen candidates were elected unopposed.
The police administration took adequate security measures to avert any untoward incidents. A large number of police, RAB, BGB, coastguard, Ansar and VDP members were deployed in the election area.
Many alleged that incidents of rigging and other irregularities took place in the election while some reports of low voter turnout also came.
EC secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed said the first-phase elections were held peacefully.He made the claim at a press briefing after the end of election at the media centre of the Election Commission in the capital.
Voting at 28 centres was suspended as irregularities took place in those centres, he said, adding that the election was held peacefully in other centres.
Asked about the presence of voters, the secretary said, “Vote counting started and we will know about the percentage of votes soon after it ends”.
About the low turnout, Heal Uddin said, “Usually, the presence of voters increases when all political parties take part in the election.”
Two presiding officers and one assistant presiding officer in Sirajganj and a presiding officer and an assistant presiding officer at Patgram in Lalmonirhat were arrested, the secretary said, adding that 20 other people were also punished by the mobile courts. Voting in 78 upazilas of 12 districts under Rangpur, Mymensingh, Sylhet and Rajshahi divisions were held in the first phase.
A total of 207 candidates vied for the posts of chairmen while 386 for vice-chairmen and 289 for reserved vice-chairmen posts.