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Voters gather at polling stations in Dhaka, Chittagong to elect mayor, councilors

 
 

Voting started at 8am and will continue until 4pm.

Except for one instance of mayhem in a polling centre at Bangshal in Dhaka South, polling was said to be peaceful in both cities so far.

Polling in that centre at Suritola has been suspendedtemporarily.

People were seen in long queues at the polling stations, but the election officials are yet to provide any details of polling percentages in the first two hours.

“I have visited several voting centres at Mirpur and Mohammadpur. Voting is continuing peacefully everywhere, I have not received any complaint from anyone so far,” Dhaka North Returning Officer Shah Alam told bdnews24.com.

“The presence of voters is good and it will rise as the day passes. My hope is that the elections will be held in a festive mood,” he added.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was the first to vote around 8am at the polling station in Dhanmanodi’s City College.

BNP-backed Dhaka North mayor hopeful Tabith Awal also casted his vote. He told reporters that they hope the polls will be held in a free and fair manner.

Meanwhile, no polling agents of BNP-backed Dhaka South mayor candidate Mirza Abbas were not found in at least two voting centres in the South City Corporation.

bdnews24.com’s Hasiba Ali Barna reported from the polling station at Kalyanpur Girls’ School, that hundreds of voters were seen queued up well before 8am, when the polls started.

“We hope that the voting can be held properly,” said the centre’s Presiding Officer Monirul Islam.

Meanwhile, voters say that they had not faced any problems so far.

Speaking to bdnews24.com at Mohakhali’s Govt Titumir College voting centre soon after 8am, a female voter said that she now lives in Kafrul but came here (Mohakhali) to exercise her franchise. “I had to take a rickshaw since there’s no public transport, but I faced no problems while voting.”

Meanwhile, voting kicked off at Dhanmondi’s Kakoli High School in presence of polling agents of both BNP and Awami League backed mayor candidates.

“Voting opened peacefully,” said Presiding Officer Tajul Islam.

Voters’ presence was, however, rather low on Tuesday morning at Mirpur’s Rupnagar Model High School and College, bdnews24.com’s Zafar Ahmed reported from the spot.

Meanwhile, allegations of journalists being barred from entering polling stations have surfaced.

Reporters of at least ten TV channels and newspapers were gathered at Shahjanpur’s Mirza Abbas Womens’ College voting centre.

“You can only go in for 5 minutes, but no cameras can be taken and do not speak with anyone,” is what police’s Sub-inspector SI Manik Chandra Sutradhar told a reporter.

No polling agents of BNP-backed Dhaka South mayor aspirant Mirza Abbas were found at the voting centres of Hazaribagh’s Saleha High School and Bhaagalpur Govt Primary School.

Officials of both polling stations said voting started on time, but Abbas’s polling agents did not turn up.

Meanwhile, no untoward incidents were reported from Chittagong, where 1,813,449 voters are expected to elect mayor and councilors for the port city.

bdnews24.com’s Mintu Choudhury reported from Baklia Model High School polling station that long queues of voters were seen since the morning.

In the first hour, 15 votes out of the 2,147 were cast, according to Presiding Officer Mosleh Uddin.

Heavy presence of voters were found at other polling stations across the port city.

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