The voting in the elections to Comilla City Corporation ended Thursday afternoon amid scattered incidents of violence and allegation of rigging.
Supporters of ruling Awami League- and Bangladesh Nationalist Party-backed mayoral candidates chased each other at Comilla City College centre in Tomson Bridge area around 11:30am during the polls.
In this time, a crude bomb was hurled at the members of Border Guard Bangladesh. Besides, miscreants tried to snatch away the ballot boxes during the chaos.
Returning officer Raquib Uddin Mandal visited the spot and suspended vote casting at the centre. A three-member probe body was also formed to investigate the matter.
The law enforcers arrested a man on charge of vote rigging at Hochchha Mia High School centre in Chartha area.
Police recovered 10 crude bombs in an abandoned condition from in front of Sri Ballav Primary School centre under sadar Dakkhin upazila around 12:00pm.
BNP-backed candidate Monirul Haque Sakku expressed dissatisfaction that efforts were on to drive his polling agents out from different polling centres.
A number of 102 false votes were cancelled according to the allegation made by the BNP-backed mayoral candidate.
Many female voters in different areas alleged that they could not cast their votes as they found the votes were already cast, our correspondent reported.
Ayesha Akter was one of the victims who came to cast her vote at Dishabandh Government Primary School centre under ward number 20 in the city.
The polling began at 8:00am on Thursday and would continue until 4:00pm without break.
Two prime mayoral candidates of ruling Awami League and BNP cast their votes in the morning.
Anjum Sultana Sima from the ruling Awami League cast her vote at Comilla Modern High School centre in Nazrul Avenue around 9:00am.
Sima said she would accept the judgement of people.
On the other hand, Monirul Haque Sakku cast his vote at Hochchha Mia High School centre around 9:30am.
If the polls are fair, he would win, Monirul said adding he would accept the people’s judgement.
The polling started amid a fear of extremist attack that has gripped city dwellers after the police cordoned off a suspected den of extremists at Kotbari Wednesday evening.
Chief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda told New Age that the commission talked to the law enforcement agencies who assured him that no operation would be conducted in the building before the conclusion of the polling.
He, however, urged the city people to exercise their voting rights avoiding all kinds of threat.
Comilla superintendent of police Md Shah Abid Hossain said that they were prepared to tackle all kinds of violence.
The Election Commission has deployed 3,836 members of law enforcement agencies, including the police, Border Guard Bangladesh, Rapid Action Battalion, Coast Guard, and Ansar to maintain law and order.
Members of law enforcing agencies are deployed at the 103 polling stations.
Earlier, 24 platoons of border guards were deployed to act as striking force in the polling area until Friday.
Four mayoral candidates –Monirul Haque Sakku, Anjum Sultana Sima, Shirin Akhter from Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal faction led by Rob, and independent candidate Mamunur Rashid – are contesting the polls.
Besides, 114 people are contesting for 27 positions of general councillors and 40 for nine positions of councillors reserved for women.
According to the commission, about 2.07 lakh voters – 1,02,447 males and 1,05,119 females – have enrolled to cast their votes.
The 14-day-long electioneering ended midnight past Tuesday while allegations of breaching electoral code of conduct were reported against the activists of Awami League mayoral candidate.
The first election to the city corporation was held on January 5, 2012, when Monirul won the race defeating ruling AL-backed candidate Afzal Khan, also the father of his running contestant Anjum.
Source: New Age