Dhaka, April 23: The third phase Union Parishad (UP) elections ended with voting in 614 unions of 87 upazilas in 48 districts across the country amid violence and irregularities on Saturday afternoon.
The voting began at 8:00am and continued till 4:00pm without any interval. The vote counting began after few minutes of ending the voting.
EC sources said it has suspended at least 24 centres for different irregularities in nine districts. In the first phase 65 and in the second phase 35 centres were suspended.
In the last two phases of polls, there were reportedly massive irregularities and violence that left at least 50 people injured and several hundred injured.
On the other hand, the third phase marked the violence leaving at least 50 people injured mainly in Chandpur, Gazipur, Sherpur, Comilla, Jamalpur, Munshiganj, Mymensingh and Noakhali.
Besides, two presiding officers were detained from Comilla for casting fake votes, another person was also detained for fake votes in the same district.
Mobile court sentenced 11 persons in Munshiganj in different terms for casting fake votes and other irregularities.
Meanwhile, an election commissioner told media that the EC was ‘unhappy’ with irregularities during the third phase of the polls.
The Election Commission (EC) took all preparations to hold the polls smoothly. All poll campaigns remained stopped since Thursday midnight.
Besides, all necessary election materials, including ballot papers, ballot boxes, and indelible ink reached the polling centers.
Earlier, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged the EC to discharge their duties strictly to hold the polls in a free and fair manner.
Election Commissioner Shah Newaz expressed the hope that the third phase of UP polls would be more free and fair.
The law enforcers have been directed to be tough against the offenders of all levels, he said, adding that actions would be taken if the lawmen neglect their duties.
A total of 2,992 chairmen candidates are contesting in the third phase polls. Of them, 1,543 candidates are nominated by 14 political parties, including Awami League, BNP, Jatiya Party, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dak (JSD), Workers Party, Islami Andalon, National Peoples Party and Khelafat Majlish. The rest are independent candidates.
EC Secretariat Deputy Director Shamsul Alam told BSS that the law enforcers are active in the field since two days before the polls. They have been directed to maintain the highest caution to prevent violence, he added.
The EC directed the outsiders to leave the poll areas to avert any situations during the election.
The government declared public holiday in the election areas on the day of polling. Ban on traffic movement excluding the vehicles having stickers of the Election Commission (EC) has been imposed in the areas.
Meanwhile, the EC withdrew three police officers in Gazipur on the charge of failure to maintain election atmosphere.