The curtain falls on the tense election campaign in 97 upazilas of 40 districts on Monday midnight, 32 hours before the voting opens in the upazilas.
As per the law, one has to stop electioneering in upazilas 32 hours before the voting.
The voting will take place from 8am to 4pm on Wednesday without any break in the first phase election in the 97 upazila parishads.
“The electioneering in the 97 upazilas is going to end tonight and the overall law and order situation in the election areas is normal,” Election Commissioner Md Shah Nawaz told reporters on Monday.
Traffic movement except that of the permitted ones in the election areas are restricted from Monday midnight, and the outsiders will have to leave the areas by the time, too.
Meanwhile, army personnel were deployed today (Monday) to work as a striking force to maintain an election-friendly environment in the areas and they will be kept deployed till Friday.
Each upazila has got a platoon of army members (34 members), EC secretariat sources said.
Alongside regular law enforcement agencies, BGB members are working as striking forces in the election areas. Besides, a team of 14-17 security men will guard each polling station.
As many as 388 magistrates — 291 executive magistrates and 97 judicial magistrates –have been appointed to lead mobile courts in the polls areas with a view to curbing any possible electoral violence and violation of polls codes.
A total of 1274 candidates are contesting the election against 291 posts in the 97 upazilas. Of them, 432 are chairman candidates, 513 vice chairman contenders and 329 vice chairman candidates for the post set aside for women.
There are 1,64,78,172 voters — 81,91537 males and 8286635 females — who can exercise their franchise in 43290 booths of 6995 polling stations in the upazilas.
Over 1,25,000 election officials will be on election duty during the voting. Of the officials, 6995 are presiding officers, 43290 assistant presiding officers and 86580 are polling officials.
The 97 upazilas are Ulipur Fulbari and Bhurangamari in Kurigram, Bheramara and Kushtia Sadar in Kushtia, Karimganj, Nikli and Bajitpur in Kishoreganj, Koyra and Dighilia in Khulna, Panchhari, Mohalchhari, Matiranga, Manikchhari and Ramgar in Khagrachhari, Saghata and Gabindaganj in Gaibandha, Kapasia in Gazipur, Kashiyani and Maksudpur in Gopalganj, Mirsarai and Hathazari in Chittagong, Nachole in Chapainawabganj, Sarishabari and Jamalpur Sadar in Jamalpur, Kaliganj, Kotchandpur and Shailakupa and Jhenidah Sadar in Jhenidah, Dohar and Nababganj in Dhaka, Kaharol and Khansama in Dinajpur, Mahadevpur and Raninagar in Noagaon, Kalia in Narail, Polash and Belabo in Narsingdi, Singra in Natore, Jaldhaka, Dimla and Syedpur in Nilphamari, Durgapur and Kendua in Netrakona, Boda, Atoyari, Panchagar Sadar and Debiganj in Panchagar, Santhia, Sujanagar and Atgharia in Pabna, Dupchachia, Sariakandi, Dhanut, Nandigram, Sherpur and Sonatala of Bogra, Gouranadi and Bakerganj in Barisal, Lalmohan in Bhola, Shreepur and Magura Sadar in Magura, Kalkini in Madaripur, Doulatpur, Singair, Saturia and Shibalaya in Manikganj, Meherpur Sadar, Kulaura in Moulvibazar, Avoynagar in Jessore, Taraganj and Mithapukur in Rangpur, Baliakandi, Rajbari Sadar and Pancha in Rajbari, Mohanpur in Rajshahi, Bhederganj, Jajira and Damudya of Shariatpur, Dakkhin Sunamganj, Doyarabazar and Chhatak in Sunamganj, Ashashuni in Satkhira, Kazipur, Rayganj, Sirajganj Sadar and Ullapara in Sirajganj, Biswanath, Jakiganj, Companiganj, Golapganj, Goainhat and Jaintapur in Sylhet, Bahubal and Madabpur in Habiganj.
On January 19, the EC announced election schedules for 102 upazilas and subsequently postponed polls of Pirganj of Rangpur to February 24, while suspended elections in four upazilas – Rangpur Sadar, Gangachhara, Pirgacha, and Kawnia in Rangpur- due to delimitation complexities.
Besides, the EC in the first four phases declared polls schedules for 380 upazilas out of the country’s 387 upazilas.
The second phase polls in 117 upazilas will be held on February 27, while the 3rd phase polls in 83 upazilas on March 15 and the 4th phase polls in 92 upazilas on March 23.
The EC has a plan to announce the fifth phase election schedules for nearly 80-90 more upazila parishad this week and arrange elections there at the end of March.
As part of the countrywide 4th upazila election, the commission will also arrange elections in a few more upazilas after the HSC examination scheduled to be held in April and May next.