The first phase of upazila parishad election, boycotted by most opposition parties, was held at 78 upazilas amid violence, violation of electoral code of conduct and low turnout of voters.
Election Commission suspended polling at 28 centres of different upazials out of 5,847 centres at 78 upazilas of 12 districts.
Addressing a post-election news conference at EC media centre, its secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed claimed that the elections were held peacefully and the commission was ‘so far satisfied’ over the turnout of voters.
He, however, said that the turnout was low as number of participants was small.
According to New Age correspondents and EC officials, ruling AL-nominated candidates were leading in the polls as the complete results of the polls was not available till 10:00pm on Sunday.
In most upazilas ruling Awam League candidates are facing rebel candidates as the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its allies, left parties and most Islamist parties are boycotting the polls protesting at the fraud and flaws that marred the December 30 general election.
New Age correspondent in Sirajganj reported that voting was suspended at Mahmudpur Govt Primary School of Sadar in the early hours after allegations of irregularities surfaced.
Three election officials — presiding officer Anwar Hossain, assistant presiding officers Belal Hossain and Abdul Alim — were arrested, returning officer of Sirajganj Md Abul Hossain said.
New Age correspondent in Rajshahi reported that judicial magistrate arrested assistant presiding officers Nazmul Islam and M Abdul Mukim and AL chairman candidate’s polling agent Md Ali for ballot stuffing.
The EC officials said near about 40 per cent of votes were cast while total voters of the 78 upazilas are 1.42 crore and 207 people contested for position of chairman, 386 for vice-chairman and 249 women contested for the positions of vice-chair reserved for women.
In the first phase, 15 AL nominated chairmen candidates, six vice-chairmen and seven reserved vice-chairs were elected uncontested.
As per the election schedule, the second phase of the upazila elections will be held on March 18, the third phase on March 24, the fourth on March 31 and the fifth phase is likely to be held on June 18.
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