The counting of votes cast in 73 upazila parishads across 34 districts began as the voting ended at 4pm on Monday amid reports of various irregularities and election boycott by a number of candidates, mostly BNP loyalists.
The polling was held from 8am to 4pm without any break, wrapping up the five-phase local government elections.
The fifth phase upazila elections, however, experienced less violence unlike the previous two phases, but Monday’s polls were allegedly marred by vote rigging, capturing polling stations and casting fake votes in many places.
At least 17 chairman candidates, mostly BNP-backed ones, boycotted the elections in Kalapara upazila of Patuakhali, Madarganj of Jamaplur, Ghatail of Tangail, Ashtogram of Kishoreganj, Araihazar of Narayaganj, Chuadanga sadar and Alamdanga, and Chandina of Comilla raising allegations of capturing polling stations and casting fake votes.
Besides, five people were injured in police firing in Ghatail of Tangail when police opened fire on demonstrators on Tangail highway after 10 candidates, including four chairman contenders boycotted the polls brining allegations of capture of almost all the polling centres and casting fake votes.
The four chairman candidates are AKM Rezaul Karim (BNP), Abdur Rashid Miah (BNP rebel), Abdul Halim (Jatiya Party) and Ansar Ali (Islami Andolan).
In Kalapara, three chairman candidates, including BNP-backed Mostafizur Rahman, at a joint press conference at 11am announced the election boycott alleging that the supporters of the ruling party candidates obstructed their supporters from casting votes, forced their agents out of some polling centres and also cast fake votes.
In Madarganj, BNP-backed chairman candidate Faidul Islam Lanzu boycotted the polls on various allegations, including ‘capture of 19 polling stations’ and forcing their agents out of some polling centres by beating.
In Chuadanga, two chairman contestants, including BNP-supported one pulled out from the polls race in Sadar upazila, while three chairman candidates in Alamdanga upazila raising allegation of capturing the centres and casting fake votes. Six vice chairman candidates also boycotted the polls in the two upazilas.
Besides, BNP-backed chairman candidate Kazi Manjurul Quader boycotted polls in Ashtogram upazila, while BNP-supported chairman contender Gazi Masud along with three vice chairman pulled out from the electoral race in Araihazar upazila, and BNP-blessed chairman candidate Mafiz Uddin Bhuiyan and LDP-supported chairman contestant Abu Taher in Chandina upazila.
A total of 1,056 candidates are contesting the elections for 219 posts, including 362 for chairman posts and 418 for vice chairman positions.
The vice chairman posts for women have 276 candidates, said the EC secretariat.
The 73 upazilas have 1,38,91,751 voters, including 69,30,269 men and 69,61,482 women under 5,534 polling stations.
The 73 upazilas are :Biral, Parbatipur and Hakimpur of Dinajpur, Domar of Nilphamari, Kaliganj of Lalmonirhat, Fulchhari, Sundarganj of Gaibandha, Bogra Sadar, Poba of Rajshahi, Belkuchi and Shahjadpur of Sirajganj, Bera and Sadar of Pabna, Alamdanga and Sadar of Chuadanga, Debhata, Sadar and Tala of Satkhira, Bamna, Patharghata, Sadar and Amtali of Barguna, Dashmina and Kalapara of Patuakhali, Ghatail, Sadar, Mirzapur and Gopalpur of Tangail, Madarganj of Jamalpur, Gafargaon, Trishal and Nandail of Mymensingh, Ashtagram and Pakundia of Kishoreganj, Tongibari, Sirajdikhan and Louhajong of Munshiganj, Sreepur and Kaliganj of Gazipur, Manohardi, Sadar and Raipura of Narsingdi, Sonargaon, Rupganj and Araihazar of Narayanganj, Goalanda of Rajbari, Biswambhapur and Tahirpur of Sunamganj, Biyanibazar of Sylhet, Juri and Rajnagar of Moulvibazar, Baniachong of Habiganj, Kasba, Ashuganj and Sadar of Brahmanbaria, Muradnagar and Chandina of Comilla, Chhagalnaiya of Feni, Subarnachar and Hatia of Noakhali, Ramgati, Ramganj, Raypur and Sadar of Laxmipur, Sandeep of Chittagong, Teknaf, Ukhia and Sadar of Cox’s Bazar, Dighinala of Khagrachhari, and Langgadu, Rajasthali and Bilaichhari of Rangamati.
On February 20, the Election Commission announced schedule for the fifth phase upazila elections.