Voting in 3rd phase polls to 117 upazila parishads begins


Dhaka, Mar 24: Voting in elections to 117 upazila parishads began on Sunday morning in the third phase of the local body polls.The balloting that began at 8am will continue till 4pm without any break.

A total of 11,887,751 voters will be able to exercise their voting rights under 9,298 polling stations in elections, UNB reported.

In the 117 upazilas, some 340 chairman, 584 vice-chairman and 399 woman vice-chairman candidates are contesting the elections.

Besides, 33 chairman, nine vice-chairman and 13 woman vice-chairman contestants have already been elected uncontested in the absence of any valid candidate to oppose them.

Though the Election Commission earlier announced the election schedule for 127 upazilas of 25 districts, the balloting will not be held in 10 upazilas in the third phase on various grounds.

“Six upazilas where all candidates have already been elected unopposed don’t require the balloting, while polls to two other upazilas were postponed following a court order and the election to the remaining two upazilas shifted to the fourth phase,” said EC Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed at a pre-election briefing at the media centre of the Nirbachan Bhaban in the city on Saturday afternoon.

The election to four upazilas — Meherpur Sadar, Gopalganj Sadar, Manikganj Sadar and Rangpur Sadar — is being held based on electronic voting machines completely.

A large number of security members, including police, Rab, BGB and Coast Guard, have been deployed in the election areas since Friday. They are slated to remain so till Tuesday.

Additional BGB members were deployed in some upazilas amid the risk of irregularities and deterioration of the law and order in this phase.

Besides, at least one judicial magistrate was deployed in each upazila and an executive magistrate for every three union parishads for five days to punish any violations of the polls code.

A security team comprising of 14-16 members drawn from police, Ansar and VDP is guarding each polling station on the day.

The first phase and second phase elections were held on March 10 and 18 respectively, while the fourth phase polls are scheduled to be held on March 31.

The first upazila election was held in 1985, while the following three were held in 1990, 2009 and 2014.