Dhaka – Hundreds of people queued outside the polling station to cast votes to choose their representatives in the Gazipur City Corporation as balloting began in the morning amid tight security.
The voting will continue till 4pm without any break.
Seven mayoral candidates, 254 councilors and 83 women councilors have been contesting the fray.
Election observers say the main contest in the mayoral post will remain between Jahangir Alam of the ruling Awami League party and Hasan Uddin Sarker of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
The Awami League says its candidate will win the race while the BNP alleged that the many agents of the party were driven away from the polling stations.
Election Commission Secretary Helaluddin Ahmad said the commission completed all necessary preparations to hold the elections in Gazipur City Corporation in a free, fair and peaceful manner.
According to Returning Officer’s office, a total of 345 candidates, including seven for mayoral post, 254 for councilor posts, 83 for reserved posts for women, are vying in the polls.
11,37,736 voters will be exercising their franchises at 425 polling stations in 57 wards across the city corporation area.
The mayor candidates are ruling Awami League nominated Md Jahangir Alam, BNP nominated Hasan Uddin Sarker, Islami Oikkya Jote nominated Fazlur Rahman (Minar), Islami Andolan Bangladesh nominated Md Nasir Uddin, Bangladesh Islami Front nominated Md Jalal Uddin, Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) nominated Md Ruhul Amin and independent candidate Farid Ahmed.
For the first time, the EC has taken an initiative to inform about the situation of polling stations immediately. The presiding officers will inform the EC Secretariat about overall situation of their respective voting centres through SMS in every two hours. The commission will take necessary measures on the basis of presiding officers SMS immediately.
A three-tier security measures are at place to ensure security during the election, with nearly 10,500 members of law enforcement agencies, including police, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Ansar.
Hasan Uddin Sarker alleged that many of his agents were driven out from different polling centres after the voting began.
The election commission suspended voting in two polling stations because of alleged stuffing.