2nd phase of Upazila Parishad polls begins

A Bangladeshi woman casts her vote at a polling station in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014. Police fired at protesters and more than 100 polling stations were torched in Sunday’s general elections marred by violence and a boycott by the opposition, which dismissed the polls as a farce. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

The 2nd phase of the 5th Upazila Parishad elections begins in the country today with balloting in 116 upazilas in 16 districts. The polling started at 8 am and it will continue till 4 pm without any break. Earlier, Election Commission (EC) Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed told BSS yesterday that All preparations were completed for holding the elections in a
peaceful manner. “All kinds of directives have been given to the officials concerned for holding the elections in a free, fair and peaceful manner. No irregularities will be tolerated during this election,” he said. Besides, general holiday has been announced for today in the
respective upazilas on election. Electioneering ended on Saturday midnight while huge enthusiasm was noticed among the voters centering the poll as the election is being held with party symbols. Restrictions on vehicular movements have been imposed in the electoral areas while additional law enforcement agencies have been deployed for five
days, including two days before and two days after the election along with the voting day.

Some 14 members of law enforcement agency have been deployed in every general polling centre while 16 deployed in the risky polling centers. Although the EC declared election schedule for 87 upazilas in the first phase, polls were held in 80 upazilas. About 1,310 aspirants, including 377 for chairman, 539 for vice-chairman and 394 for women vice-chairman posts, are contesting the second phase polls. About 1.79 crore voters are going to exercise their franchise in 7,039 polling centres in 116 upazilas. As per the election schedule, elections will be held in 127 upazilas on March 24 in the third phase. Besides, the fourth and fifth phases of the Upazila Parishad elections will be held on March 31 and July 18 respectively.