Online Desk :
Jayeda Khaton, the mother of expelled ruling party leader Zahangir Alam, has won the Gazipur mayoral race with a slim margin of 16,203 votes .
Jayeda secured 238,934 votes in 480 centres, unofficial results showed at 1:30am on Friday after daylong voting through electronic machines on Thursday, reports bdnews24.com.
Her nearest rival, the Awami League’s Azmat Ullah Khan, got 222,737 votes.
Sarker Shahnoor Islam Rony, a BNP supporter who joined the race despite the party’s decision to avoid elections under the Awami League government, bagged 23,265 votes.
The supporters of both sides gathered outside Bangataz Auditorium, from where the returning officer was announcing the results.
Many of them scaled the boundary wall and got into the premises of the auditorium. The law enforcers then forced them to the opposite side of the street.
Both sides were cheering their leaders, but with Jayeda maintaining her lead, the celebrations were more enthusiastic among her supporters.
“We’re cent percent hopeful about a victory. Gazipur experienced unprecedented development during Zahangir Bhai’s tenure. We hope his mother will be elected and continue the trend of development,” said college student Anis Ali Molla, a supporter of Jayeda.
Azmat’s supporters did not give up hope. One of them, Nayeem Islam, said: “We may be trailing by some votes, but the results from many centres are yet to come. So we’re not giving up hope for a win.” But finally Jayeda came out triumphant.
About 1.17 million people were expected to vote in the city election, a closely watched race.
People thronged some centres long before the voting opened. As the day progressed, there were some reports of agents being forced out of centres, the presence of unwanted people in voting rooms, CCTV cameras breaking down, and EVMs going slow at some centres.
The Election Commission said it took steps to swiftly resolve the technical and disciplinary issues.
At least two people were arrested after they were seen interfering with voting in the secret room through CCTV monitoring, but there were no instances of voters being forced or influenced.
Along with electing the new mayor, the third Gazipur city poll will also determine 57 councillors and 19 women councillors for reserved seats. More than 330 candidates contested for the general and reserved councillor seats.
After the voting closed, Azmat said people cast their ballots in a ‘festive atmosphere’. He was optimistic about winning the race.
Mayoral candidate Jayeda, who is in the race instead of her son and former mayor Zahangir, also praised the voting atmosphere.
However, Zahangir alleged that voters were being pressured to vote for the Awami League at some centres.
Shahnoor appeared happy after casting his ballot. He said he had not noticed anything problematic but alleged his agents were intimidated.