Chattogram city polls underway

Sun Online Desk

27th January, 2021 09:05:03 printer

Chattogram city polls underway

Elections to Chattogram City Corporation (CCC) started at 8am today with ruling Awami League optimistic about victory and BNP proceeding with caution.

The voting to the port city and Bangladesh’s economic capital will continue till 4pm, source at Election Commission said.

The Election Commission (EC) completed all necessary preparations to hold the election in a free, fair and credible manner, said its Senior Secretary Md Alamgir on Tuesday.

The ruling party finds the election atmosphere congenial while BNP smells conspiracy to rig votes in the election being held with party symbols and EVMs for the first time.

Contacted, AL CCC Election Chief Coordinator and former Minister Engineer Mosharraf Hossain told the Daily Sun that they have taken necessary preparations to participate in the election. “We’ve formed separate committees for all polling centres and the committees will help voters cast their votes as per their will,” he said.

Mentioning that the government’s achievements are now visible, he expressed the hope that people will cast votes for the ‘Boat’ symbol.

The veteran politician also claimed that allegations lodged by BNP and clashes that took place during the electioneering will not affect the election.

Meanwhile, BNP candidate Dr Shahadat Hossain met Returning Officer (RO) Md Hasanuzzaman on Tuesday and lodged written complaints alleging that around 200 of their party men, including 56 agents assigned for the election, were arrested till Tuesday.

 The RO assured him of taking steps so that no innocent person is harassed.

 Talking to reporters at the BNP office in the afternoon, Shahadat said they will remain in the race till the end if the election is held in a free and neutral manner. “The EC and the administration will have to play a neutral role to create a level-playing field,” he said.

A total of 237 contestants, including seven mayoral candidates, 173 councillor runners and 57 aspirants for 14 women reserved seats, are there in the election race.

For the mayoral post, the main fight is expected between AL’s M Rezaul Karim Chowdhury with ‘Boat’ symbol and BNP’s Shahadat with ‘Sheaf of Paddy.’

Among other mayoral candidates, Islami Andolon Bangladesh’s Md Jannatul Islam is fighting with ‘Hand fan’ while MA Matin of Bangladesh Islami Front with ‘Candle’, Muhammad Wahed Murad of Islamic Front Bangladesh with ‘Chair’, Abul Manjur of National People’s Party with ‘Mango’ and independent candidate Khokon Chowdhury with ‘Elephant’.

According to sources at the RO office, there are 1,938,706 voters, including 992,033 males and 946,673 females, in 41 wards of the CCC. There are 4,886 polling booths in 735 centres.

A total of 5,902 presiding and assistant presiding officers and 10,261 polling officers were appointed for holding the election entirely with EVMs.

Meanwhile, Chattogram Metropolitan Police (CMP) identified some 417 centres as ‘important.’

To maintain the law and order and guard the polling centres, around 20,000 members of police, Rapid Action Battalion (Rab), Armed Police Battalion (APBn), Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Ansar were deployed in the city.

There are 89 magistrates, including 20 judicial ones, in the field.

CMP Commissioner Saleh Md Tanvir told reporters on Tuesday that the number of law enforcers will be increased if necessary.

A total of 25 platoons of Rab, 25 platoons of BGB and magistrates started their work from Monday, he said. “We’ve taken tight security measures and hope that a free and fair election will be held in a festive mood.”