edges AL again in Upazila polls
Thursday’s voting at 115 Upazilas
across Bangladesh, unofficial results
showed candidates endorsed by the BNP
winning chairman posts in 51 Upazilas.
Aspirants backed by its ally
Jamaat-e-Islami won in eight Upazilas.
Put together, the number of chairman
posts won by the combine in the first
two legs is 37 more than what the ruling
party has managed.
Awami League-endorsed candidates won in
45 Upazilas in the second phase. It had
won at 34 Upazilas in the first phase.
Results of Sirajganj's Tarash, Barisal
Sadar, Comilla's Laksham, and
Bagerhat’s Fakirhat Upazilas have not
been published. Polling at 11 centres at
Barisal Sadar, two at Laksham, and one
at Tarash had been suspended.
the winner of the Vice Chairman’s post
at Faikrhat has been decided, but the
result of the Chairman post has been
withheld as polling was suspended at one
of the voting centres
require the local government election to
be non-political, but the political
parties pervade all aspects of it, from
fielding candidates to running campaigns
and even pronouncing their own
Moreover, with only about two months
after the national election which the
BNP boycotted, the Upazila elections are
being seen as a test of popularity of
the leading political parties.
BNP chief Khaleda Zia had reportedly
asked her party leaders to do
“everything they could” to help the
19-Party Alliance candidates win the
Upazila Parishad elections.
Thursday's polls witnessed more violence
than the first phase in a parody of the
Election Commission putting security
forces backed up by the military on
‘maximum alert’. Polling was halted
in all the 117 centres at Noakhali Sadar
and 34 centres in other Upazilas because
A man was killed in a clash between
police and Jamaat supporters at
Noakhali’s Sonaimurhi. Reports of
violence also came in from Bagerhat,
Jessore and Thakurgaon.
The Chief Election Commissioner Kazi
Rakibuddin Ahmad has put on a brave
face, saying the balloting was
‘peaceful’ barring ‘isolated’
incidents of violence.
The BNP raised allegations of takeover
of polling centres and rigging by the
ruling party. The Awami League denied
those and was confident the results
would be acceptable to all.
Alleging irregularities, BNP candidates
in Cox’s Bazar, Barisal Sadar,
Munshiganj Sadar, Noakhali’s
Companyganj and Kabirhat, Jessore’s
Sharsha and Kushtia’s Mirpur Upazilas
announced a boycott of the polls and
called for shutdown.
The BNP-backed candidates won a total of
96 chairman posts in the first two
phases while the number is 20 for Jamaat.
Most of the male and female vice
chairmen belong to the BNP-Jamaat
The BNP went back on its stance of not
contesting in any elections under Sheikh
Hasina's government and endorsed
candidates in the Upazila elections.
In the first two phases, polls were held
in 210 out of 487 Upazilas. Balloting in
the rest will be held in four more
Candidates supported by indigenous
groups dominated the Chittagong Hill
Tracts. Janasanghati Samiti (JSS)
candidates secured chairman posts at
three Upazilas and United People’s
Democratic Front (UPDF) at one Upazila.
Only one Jatiya Party-backed candidate
won a chairman post from Nilphamari’s
Independent candidate Khalaching Marma
won at Bandarban’s Thanchi.
The Election Commission (EC) remained
tight-lipped about the turnout.
BNP’s Joint Secretary General Ruhul
Kabir Rizvi hinted at future programmes
protesting against ‘rigging'.
Awami League’s Advisory Council member
HT Imam, however, said: “According to
our information, voting had been
peaceful in all the Upazilas.”
The ruling party, which tailed the BNP
in the first phase, sought a moral high
ground, saying holding free and fair
elections was a ‘victory’ for the
The BNP, for its part, said people had
showed ‘zero confidence’ in the
government – the chance they may have
well been denied in the Jan 5 polls, if
the party’s assertion is anything to
has been free and fair: AL
to our information, voting had been
peaceful in all the Upazilas,”
party’s Advisory Council member HT
Imam said at a press briefing on
many as 115 Upazilas had gone to polls
to elect chairman, vice chairman and
female vice chairperson in the second
BNP, which boycotted the Jan 5
parliamentary polls but decided to
contest the Upazila elections, alleged
there had been a ‘festival of
occupying polling centres’ across
many as 45 candidates loyal to the BNP
had won the chairman post in the first
had been halted at the Noakhali Sadar
and 34 other centres because of
violence. Clashes had left one man dead
Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin
Ahmad has termed the acts of violence as
took place amid a festive atmosphere,”
he said at the briefing at the party
chief’s Dhanmondi office.
hoped the polls would be acceptable to
loyal to the BNP had announced a boycott
of the polls alleging irregularities in
several Upazilas. The party had called
for shutdown at several Upazilas.
took a dig at the BNP-backed candidates.
He said the areas in which election had
been boycotted and shutdowns were called
were Awami League dominated.
called for the shutdown fearing imminent
defeat,” he claimed.
local units had called strikes in
Cox’s Bazar, Barisal Sadar, Munshiganj
Sadar, Noakhali’s Companyganj and
Kabirhat, Jessore’s Sharsha,
Kushtia’s Mirpur Upazilas alleging
claimed the ruling party was not
‘bewildered’ at its loss in the
are treating this (the defeat in first
phase) as part of democratic
practice,” he said.
Awami League’s ‘vote banks’ are
still intact,” claimed Imam
votes at 2 centres
attempt to keep women confined to home
during polling took place at Char
Mandari village under Chandpur’s
Faridganj Upazila on Thursday.
four female voters out of 7,485
exercised their franchise at two centres.
one vote was cast at the Charmandari
School centre while Kaulia Pir Habib
Ullah School centre saw three votes.
said the reluctance was due to an order
given long ago by ‘Pir’ from Jainpur,
now long dead.
election official Farid Ahammed was
clearly frustrated at the turnout.
lamented that widespread campaigns
encouraging female voters had proved
even said female voters could cast votes
inside veils,” he told bdnews24.com.