Dhaka – Voting began in a festive mode in Narayanganj as electors on Thursday wait on long queues to exercise right to franchise to choose their new mayor for the city.
The voting began at 8:00am and will end at 4:00pm without any break.
Contenders were apparently happy with the voting atmosphere as there was no report of violence and falsification in the first four hours of the election.
Returning Officer Nuruzzaman Talukder said the election was peaceful, free and fair.
Paramilitary troopers from Border Guard Bangladesh, posted as striking force, were seen patrolling streets in Narayanganj to maintain order during and after the polls to be contested mainly between ruling Awami League party and the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
A total of 195 candidates are contesting for 37 posts. Of them, seven are contesting for the mayoral post and 156 are contesting in 27 wards while 38 are contesting for nine women reserved seats.
Seven candidates are contesting for the mayoral posts. Awami League nominated candidate Salina Hayat Ivy and Bangladesh Nationalist Party nominated candidate Advocate Sakhawat Hossain Khan are contending the polls for the mayoral post with symbols ‘boat’ and ‘paddy sheaf respectively.
The five other mayoral contestants are Mahbubur Rahman Ismail of Bangladesh Biplabi Workers Party, Kamal Prodhan of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Maulana Md Masum Billah of Islami Andolan Bangladesh, Mufti Azharul Haque of Islami Oikyajot, Md Rashed Ferdous of Bangladesh Kalyan Party.
BNP candidate Advocate Sakhawat Hossain Khan casted his vote in the morning and said, “I will not boycott votes, if the people can cast their vote without fear.”
Khan hopes for landslide victory in the election if the election is free and fair.
A total of 474,931 voters are expected to cast their ballots under 174 poling centers. Of them, 241, 514 are male and 237,878 are female voters.
Director of EC secretariat SM Asaduzzaman said that 8,000 law enforcing members have been deployed in Narayanganj city corporation areas to ensure peaceful election while 27 executive magistrates have been kept on special duties during the election.
Nine magistrates are working with mobile and striking force while 14 judicial magistrates are working at instant summary trials for election related crimes.
Some 174 presiding officers, 1,304 assistant presiding officers and 2,608 poling officers are performing their duties.