Staff Reporter :
Polls to 117 upazilas are going be held tomorrow (Thursday) in the second phase. In the first phase, polls in 98 upazilas were held on February 19 and 24. The election campaign of the second phase ended in the last midnight.
Both the ruling Awami League and the BNP-led alliance have taken the election seriously. In spite of hectic efforts, they have failed to convince most of their rebel candidates to withdraw their candidature. The AL has at least 57 rebels for chairman posts while the BNP has 51. Dissidents are also vying for the vice-chairman posts in several upazilas.
The BNP high command has asked its district units to continue their efforts till the polling day while the AL
is also trying to do the same. But in many areas, MPs and ministers are backing their own candidates instead of party-backed candidates, sources said.
In the first phase, the rebel candidates contested in more than 50 upazilas out of the 98 upazilas. In the polls, AL-backed candidates won 34 chairman posts while BNP-backed candidates swept 42. The BNP-led alliance and the ruling party are optimistic about wining of the majority posts.
The Election Commission (EC) has taken at the preparations to hold the election in free and fair atmosphere. In order to maintain law and order, army will be on duty for five days in each upazila. The army started election duties from yesterday (Tuesday) in the upazilas. A platoon comprising 33 members will guard each upazila. Besides, additional army men and other regular law enforcers will also be deployed in the upazilas as the striking force, said the EC officials. The army will perform duties in the upazilas with the aim to make their presence visible to voters. They will not discharge duties inside the polling centres.
Meanwhile, the administration has identified the vulnerable polling centres and taking preparations accordingly. Local administration of Bogra has identified all the polling centers in Shahajahanpur, Kahaloo, Shibganj and Adamdighi upazilas as vulnerable. At least 98 polling centres out of the 278 were identified as high risk. According to the EC Secretariat, a total of 1376 persons are contesting in the second phase of the elections. Of the candidates, 515 are for chairman posts while 521 for vice-chairman and 340 for female vice-chairman. 221 chairman candidates, 138 vice-chairman aspirants and 49 women vice-chairman candidates withdrew their candidature after filing nomination papers.
Staff Reporter :