Dhaka – Voting began in the third phase of local government elections Sunday amid low turnout and stray incidents of violence in some places, police said.
A policeman was shot at by group of youths as the law enforcement agencies tried to prevent them taking control of one of the polling stations in Chattogram’s Panchlaish area soon after the voting began.
A constable was rushed to hospital after he sustained bullet wounds, said an officer.
The election commission has been conducting the vote in 117 upazilas in 25 districts in third phases of 5th Upazila Parishad, the second largest local government institution in Bangladesh, elections for Sunday.
The polling started at 8 am and it will continue till 4 pm without any break.
The election officials suspended voting in all 89 polling stations of Katiadi upazila of northern Kishoreganj district after allegations of ballot stuffing was reported prior to the voting started.
District election official Tajul Islam said a few police officers were withdrawn from their duty for their alleged roles during the vote rigging.
A total of 1,376 aspirants, including 358 for chairman post, 604 for vice-chairman and 414 for women vice-chairman positions, have been contesting for the third phase of the elections.
Though the election to chairman, vice-chairman and reserved vice-chairman posts is being held under party banner, ruling Awami League has kept the vice-chairman and reserved vice-chairman posts open to all without giving party nominations, according to state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency.
Nearly 20.5 million voters are eligible to cast their vote in 10,018 polling centres in 117 upazilas.
Though the third phase election was scheduled to be held in 127 Upazila Parishads under 17 districts in five divisions, there will be no voting in six upazilas as candidates in all posts were elected unopposed.
Besides, polls to two upazilas of Cox’s Bazar Sadar and Narsingdi Sadar have been shifted to fourth phase of elections, scheduled for March 31. The fifth phase of voting will take place on July 18.