Dhaka, Feb 1 : The Awami League mayoral candidates extended their lead in both Dhaka North City Corporation and Dhaka South City Corporation in the counting of votes in the elections to the two city cities on Saturday. According to unofficial results, AL mayoral runner Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh got 278,193 votes while BNP’s Ishraque Hossain polled 142,975 in 713 centres out of total 1,150 in DSCC.
In DNCC, ruling party contestant Atiqul Islam bagged 46,759 votes while his nearest rival Tabith Awal of BNP polled 32,910 in 140 centres out of total 1,318. The voting in the polls to Dhaka South City Corporation and Dhaka North City Corporation ended amid low turnout and alleged irregularities. Voting continued from 8:00am to 4:00pm without any break.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party has alleged that some of its agents have been ousted from different poll centres across the city. According to a report, the chief election commissioner, KM Nurul Huda, about the overall situation, said that the voter turnout was poor. When his attention was drawn to BNP’s allegation that their agents were being driven out of polling centres, he said: 'Polling agents driven out of voting centres should go to the presiding officers, magistrates and law enforcers and enter polling stations with their help.' The voting began at 8:00am on Saturday and will continue till 4:00pm without any break to elect mayors and councillors of the two city corporations. Prime minister and Awami League president Sheikh Hasina casted her votes as a voter of the DSCC at Dhaka City College centre in the morning.
UNI correspondent at Udayan Higher Secondary School centre in Dhaka reported that only 16 voters casted their votes at the centre till 8:30am. The on duty police said that they could not allow voters inside the centre sharp at 8:00am because of some technical difficulties regarding the EVM machines. The on duty police from Shahbagh police station did not allow the UNI reporter to go inside the centre. You can’t stay here for long. You can go inside for a while and then you have to leave, said Shahbagh police sub inspector Shahed.
Ruling Awami League activists were seen sitting outside the centre. Fauzia, a voter from Ruqayyah Hall, after casting her vote, that it was easy to cast vote via EVM machine. However, another voter, Foyzunnessa, said that she found the machine confusing. An election commission officer assisted her to cast her vote standing outside of the booth, she said. No poling agent of Bangladesh Nationalist Party came to the centre, said presiding officer Md Saidur Rashid.
But, polling agents of boat symbol were present at all six booths. Beside, a huge number of male and female activists of the ruling party were seen sitting outside the centre. An executive magistrate from food ministry, Md Rezwanul Islam, came to monitor the law and order situation at the centre at about 8:45am. He told that the law and order situation was fine but presence of voters was low. The presence of voters was low at Dhaka University Physical Exercise Centre booths. The centre presiding officer Md Aminul Islam said that seven AL, four BNP and one Islami Andalan polling agents were at the centre. But the correspondent found only the AL agents at the centre. AL agents were seen guarding the centre.
They were seen checking the NIDs of the voters. The activists were also seen checking the voting along with law enforcers inside the centres. Meanwhile, two BNP-backed councillor candidates were injured as activists of opponent party attacked them at Kathalbagan Khan Hasan School in the city.
Dhaka South City Corporation BNP mayoral candidate Israque Hossain said that councillor candidate of Dhaka ward no 16 Sirajul Isam and his supporters were attacked by opponents while going to the vote centre.
They were also ousted from the centre, Israque said. According to report that BNP’s DNCC mayoral candidate Tabith Awal’s main polls agent Moazzem Hossain Alal came under a bomb attack at Monipur in the afternoon. A group of miscreants hurled bombs at his vehicle when he was visiting Monipur High School and College (Branch-2) in Ibrahimpur area, said Mahmud Hasan, the media coordinator of Tabith.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party on Saturday evening called dawn to dusk hartal in Dhaka city for Sunday rejecting the results of elections to two cities in Dhaka. BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir made the announcement at a press conference at the party’s central office at Naya Paltan in Dhaka Saturday evening when the polls result showed that ruling Awami League mayoral candidates took lead in both the cities.
The elections to the two cities were held from 8:00am to 4:00pm without any break amid low turnout and allegations of vote rigging, violence, AL men’s muscle flexing and forcing voters to vote for their candidates coupled with complications to handle electronic voting machines. The BNP secretary general urged Dhaka city dwellers to observe the hartal peacefully. Earlier in the afternoon, the BNP secretary general alleged that the Dhaka city elections were not free and fair. (UNI)