AL sweeps 2nd-phase municipal polls

ANM Mohibub Uz Zaman

17 January, 2021 12:00 AM printer

The ruling Awami League swept the second-phase mayoral elections to 60 municipalities held peacefully on Saturday.

Unofficial results from 46 municipalities showed that AL won 40 mayoral posts while its arch-rival BNP bagged only four posts.

Two independent candidates also won the mayoral polls till filing of this report at 9:30pm.

BNP candidates once again faced debacle in the local government elections, leaving the party in tatters in the field of politics.

Abdul Quader Mirza, younger brother of AL general secretary Obaidul Quader, won the Basurhat Municipality polls by a huge margin.

He has become the mayor of the municipality for the third term in a row.

Abdul Quader got 10,738 votes while BNP-nominated candidate Kamal Uddin Chowdhury bagged only 1,778 votes.

BNP candidate Tofazzal Hossain Buttu has been elected mayor of Santahar Municipality for the third term, defeating AL-nominated candidate Ashraful Islam Montu.

Bhuttu got 7,819 votes while Montu bagged 7,397 votes.

Electronic Voting machines (EVMs) were used in 29 municipalities while traditional ballot papers in the remaining areas.

Meanwhile, AL rebel candidate Mosharraf Hossain Babul won the Birganj Municipality polls, defeating AL candidate Nur Islam Nur.

Babul got 3,993 votes while Nur bagged 3,946 votes.

The second-phase elections to 60 municipalities across the country ended with some sporadic incidents of violence in some places.

Except some stray incidents of violence, the overall elections were held in a peaceful manner while presence of voters was thick in the local government elections.

Against the backdrop of sporadic violence which left several injured, including law enforcers, opposition parties raised allegations of massive irregularities in polls, including vote rigging.

The ruling party, however, brushed aside such claims, saying that elections were held in a peaceful manner compared to other elections held in the past.

The voting started at 8:00am and ended at 4:00pm on the day. Electronic voting machines (EVMs) were used for voting in 29 municipalities while traditional ballot papers were used in the remaining municipalities.

The ballot papers were sent to the polling stations on Saturday morning and EVMs were sent to the election areas on Friday.

Four people, including an Ansar member, were injured in a crude bomb explosion in front of a polling centre at Gonipur Government Primary School polling station in Dagonbhuiya upazila of Feni.

In Jhenidah, miscreants vandalised the car of Awami League rebel candidate Tayebur Rahman in front of Jhaudia Government Primary School in Shailkupa municipality.

In Pabna, Awami League activists allegedly attacked BNP-nominated candidates in Ishwardi municipality and Santhia municipality at the beginning of the elections.

BNP candidate Rofikul Islam Nayan told journalists that AL men attacked him when he was visiting Ishwardi Madrasa centre on Saturday morning.

Rejecting the allegations, Awami League candidate Sheikh Md Nasir Uddin said locals just protested when Nayan and his supporters were trying to enter a voting centre for women.

In Santhia municipality, BNP nominated candidate Sirajul Islam Mollah alleged that he came under attack by Awami League men at Santhia Pilot School centre.

In Tangail, BNP-nominated mayor candidate SMA Sobhan and independent candidate Moniruzzaman alleged that supporters of AL aspirant Manjurul Islam Tapan drove out their agents from many centres, including Dhanbari Government Degree College, in Dhanbari municipality.

Besides these, BNP activist Sajal was injured in a chase and counter-chase between BNP and AL men in front of the college.

AL candidates contested the mayoral elections to all the municipalities, but BNP-backed candidates contested the polls in 55 municipalities.

Jatiya Party backed mayoral candidates in 11 to 12 municipalities.

A total of 216 mayoral candidates contested the elections to 60 municipalities while 724 women contestants were in the race for reserved seats and 2,234 councillor contenders contested the race.

The municipalities were Swandip in Chattogram, Kazipur, Belkuchi, Ullapara, Sadar and Rayganj in Sirajganj, Mohonganj, Kendua in Netrokona, Kushtia Sadar, Kumarkhali, Bheramara and Mirpur, Kulaura and Komolganj in Maulvibazar, Tarabo in Narayanganj, Shariatpur Sadar, Nageshwari in Kurigram, Sundarganj and Sadar in Gaibandha, Sadar, Birampur and Birganj in Dinajpur, Nozipur in Naogaon, Bhangura, Faridpur, Santhia, Ishwardi and Sujanagar in Pabna, Arani, Bhabaniganj, Kakanhat in Rajshahi, Sunamganj Sadar, Chatak and Jagannathpur in Sunamganj, Madabpur and Nabiganj in Habiganj, Boalmari in Faridpur, Phulbaria and Muktagacha in Mymensingh, Magura Sadar, Savar in Dhaka, Naldanga, Gurudashpur and Gopalpur in Natore, Sherpur, Sariakandhi and Santahar in Bogura, Pirojpur Sadar, Gangni in Meherpur, Sailakupa in Jhenaidah, Khagrachhari Sadar, Lama in Bandarban, Dhanbari in Tangail, Chandina in Cumilla, Dhaganbhuiyan in Feni, Kishoreganj Sadar and Kuliarchar in Kishoreganj, Monohardi in Narsingdi, Basurhat in Noakhali and Mongla in Bagerhat.

The first phase elections to 24 municipalities were held on December 28, 2020, while the third-phase elections to 64 municipalities will be held on January 30 and the fourth-phase polls in 56 municipalities on February 14.