Staff Correspondent: Barrister Fazle Nur Taposh in Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) and Atiqul Islam in Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) have been elected mayors from Awami League defeating BNP candidates, bagging almost double votes. The polls were almost free and fair and conducted in a peaceful atmosphere but BNP polling agents were absent in most of the centres.
Earlier, balloting in the DNCC and DSCC elections ended on 4pm amid ‘low voter turnout’ and reports of sporadic violence and allegations of BNP agents being driven out of polling stations. The full-fledged use of Electronic Voting Machines or EVMs for recording votes instead of traditional ballot papers evoked mixed reactions from both voters and politicians.
The voting began at 8am and continued till 4pm without any break. The two city corporations had more than 5.45 million voters.
Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina cast her vote at Dhaka City College centre in the morning.
Awami League candidate Atiqul Islam and BNP’s Tabith Awal are in the race for the mayor’s office in DNCC. In DSCC, the mayoral race is being led by AL’s Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh and BNP’s Ishraque Hossain.
Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda said he was happy with the overall atmosphere during the Dhaka city elections.
About BNP’s allegation that its agents were being driven out of polling centres, he said: “Polling agents driven out of voting centres should go to presiding officers, magistrates and law enforcers and enter polling stations with their help.”
Members of the ruling party Awami League expressed their satisfaction over the Dhaka north and south city corporation elections on Saturday.
Awami League-backed Dhaka South City Corporation mayoral candidate Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh was on course to win the city polls that were held with electronic voting machines.
However, Taposh expressed frustration over the low voter turnout in the Dhaka South City Corporation elections Saturday.
“We expected at least 60 percent votes would be cast. But we saw a much lower turnout of voters, which is frustrating,” Taposh said while briefing media today at Green Road in the capital.
He also said it should be analysed why people are losing interest in elections.
He also denied that any BNP agents were driven out of the polling centres.
Meanwhile, Dhaka North City Corporation mayoral candidate Atiqul Islam said a low turnout of voters in today’s election is a sign that Bangladesh is developing.
Responding to a query about the low turnout, Atiqul said, “In developed countries, voters’ presence usually remain low. Moreover, many city dwellers have left the capital after getting several consecutive holidays.
However, he said it would be pleasant if more voters had shown up in the polling centres. Atiqul also expressed his hope of winning the mayoral election while talking to reporters.
The former mayor added that he would accept the election result whichever way it went.
The ruling party advisory council member Amir Hossain Amu said lack of transportation and consecutive holidays caused the low turnout of voters.
Many voters went out of the city on a two day vacation, Amu said in a press briefing at Awami League’s central office in the capital.
Information Minister and AL’s Joint General Secretary Dr Hasan Mahmud said the city corporation elections were much more peaceful than all the elections held in the past.
The information minister alleged that the absence of the BNP activists reflected the party’s weakness.
In a similar tone, Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said the elections held on Saturday was the most free, fair and peaceful election among all the elections held in the last 100 years.