BNP-backed candidate Ariful Haque Chowdhury has been unofficially elected Mayor in Sylhet City Corporation election.
He has polled 107,330 votes while his closest contender outgoing Mayor Badar Uddin Ahmed Kamran has drawn 72,173 from all the 128 centres.
Kamran, the Sylhet Metropolitan Awami League President, has conceded defeat.
In an instant reaction, he said: “I’m happy with the people’s mandate. I’m grateful to the city dwellers for casting votes peacefully. I’ll try to serve the people in the future like I did in the past by being beside the people.”
He further said, “A defeat or victory doesn’t severe relationship with the people. The people have given a nice verdict as they wanted to elect a new face.”
Kamran also hoped that the newly elected local government body would run the office efficiently.
On having the clear indication of victory, the supporters of the BNP-led 18-party alliance started celebrations. They took out small processions in Ambarkhana, Zindabazar, Chauhatta and other places of the city.
The Election Commission’s Sylhet office in Alampur began announcing the results of the centres from 6pm. Sylhet’s Regional Election Officer SM Ejharul Haque was the returning officer for the polls.
There were 291,046 voters in the city. The officials could not say how many votes were polled on Saturday.
The vote ended in Sylhet’s 128 voting centres at 4pm without any major untoward incident.
Assistant Presiding Officer Lutfunnessa was withdrawn from Government Primary School polling centre at Khasdabir after she got into an argument with a voter. Barring this, there was no other untoward incident reported in the city.
Outgoing mayor Kamran had hoped for victory after he cast his vote at Government Pilot High School. But he promptly added that he would accept the people’s mandate irrespective of its outcome.
But Arif, supported by the BNP-led 18-Party alliance, claimed there was a plot to defeat him while casting his vote at Rainagar Government Primary School.
The third contestant for the post of Mayor is businessman Salah Uddin Rimon who is in the race with a poll symbol of ‘lock’.
Sylhet City Corporation was established in 2002. Electronic voting machines were used in three polling centers in Sylhet. A total of 4,297 voters out of 6,283 turned up to exercise their franchise in these centres.