The mayoral candidates backed by the BNP-led 18-party alliance swept the largely peaceful elections to four city corporations — Rajshahi, Khulna, Barisal and Sylhet — on Saturday.
They defeated their rival Awami League-led 14-party alliance-supported hopefuls by big margins in all the four city corporations.
Opposition alliance-backed candidate Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul was unofficially elected mayor of Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC).
Bulbul bagged 131,161 votes in 136 out of 137 centres in the polls while his nearest rival Awami League-led ruling alliance-supported AHM Khairuzzaman Liton polled 83,005.
In Khulna, 18-party alliance-backed candidate M Moniruzzaman Moni defeated Talukder Abdul Khaleque of the Awami League-led 14-party alliance by 61,207 votes to become the father of Khulna City Corporation (KCC).
Moni got 181,265 votes in the polls while his nearest rival Talukder Abdul Khaleque bagged 120,058 votes.
Ahsan Habib Kamal of the opposition alliance was unofficially elected mayor of Barisal City Corporation (BCC) defeating Shawkat Hossain Hiron of the ruling Awami League-led Grand Alliance.
Kamal bagged 84,751 votes in the polls while his nearest rival Shawkat Hossain Hiron of the ruling Awami League-led Grand Alliance polled 66,741.
BNP-led opposition alliance-backed candidate Ariful Haque Chowdhury snatched the key of Sylhet City Corporation (SCC) from Badar Uddin Ahmed Kamran of the Awami League-led 14-party alliance-supported.
Ariful polled 107,330 votes in the polls while his nearest rival Badar Uddin Ahmed Kamran of the Awami League-led 14-party alliance-supported got 72,173 votes.
Meanwhile, in a rare gesture, Kamran congratulated Ariful on his victory in the SCC polls.
In a message of felicitation, the 14-party-bakced candidate hoped that the development of Sylhet City Corporation will be done under the leadership of Ariful in the days to come.
He also assured of his all-out cooperation for the welfare of the city dwellers.
Kamran expressed his gratitude to the voters for exercising their franchise in the polls in a peaceful, democratic and enthusiastic atmosphere.
Earlier, voting in the city corporation ended peacefully at 4 pm. There was no report of any major incident of violence during the voting that started at 8am.
Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Ansar members alongside that of police and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) were deployed in the election area to maintain law and order.
The Election Commission said the elections were held in a free and fair manner, but the main opposition BNP brought the allegations of various irregularities, including intimidation and ousting polling agents, at different places during the balloting in the four cities.
The voters, irrespective of their age and gender, were seen standing in long queues in front of the polling centres with much enthusiasm to exercise their franchises to elect their mayors and councillors for next five years.
The four city corporations’ polls drew huge attention of the nation as the results of the polls are believed to have impacts on the upcoming national election as well as the national politics.
The presence of voters in the polling centres of Barisal City Corporation (BCC) was high despite rain in the morning.
Meanwhile, voting at Rupatali Government Primary School remained suspended from 1:40 pm to 3 pm after a clash between the supporters of Awami League-supported candidate Shawkat Hossain Hiran and BNP-backed runner Ahsan Habib Kamal.
The presence of voters in Sylhet City Corporation (BCC) was also very satisfactory.
Ariful Haque Chowdhury, after visiting a number of polling centres, alleged that members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) forced his voters to leave some centres by terrorising them. Ariful said he informed the election officials about the matter.
Meanwhile, an assistant presiding officer of Khasdabir Government Primary School centre was suspended on charge of providing additional ballot papers to the supporters of ruling Awami League-backed mayoral runner Badar Uddin Kamran.
In another incident, a row surfaced among the voters at Government Pilot School polling centre in the city’s Kalighat area after Kamran’s wife allegedly tried to influence voters in the centre.
BNP leader Hadia Chowdhury was also assaulted by the local Jubo League leader Kamal around 2 pm when she went to submit the complaint to the SCC returning officer. Soon after the incident, Rab personnel rushed in and dispersed the angry mob by charging baton.
Asma Kamran, however, denied the allegation brought against her.
In Khulna, the presence of the female voters in the polling centres was high.
Ruling party-backed candidate Talukder Abdul Khaleque cast his vote at Khulna Pioneer High School centre at 8:10 am while 18-party-backed candidate M Moniruzzaman Moni cast his vote at Alia Madrasha centre at 8 am.
A chase and counter-chase between the activists of two councillor candidates caused disruption in voting for half an hour at the ward No 27 polling centre of Khulna City Corporation.
Later, law enforcers brought the situation under control.
The voting at 137 polling stations of Rajshahi City Corporation ended almost peacefully without any major incident.